Cocaine Mitch giveth, and Cocaine Mitch taketh away. The need to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court ahead of the election forced Mitch McConnell to put on a national show, one in which Senate Democrats can pitch their main 2020 electoral message of health care. Thus far, McConnell’s opponents across the aisle have managed to remain fairly disciplined on that message, or at the very least have not yet blown that strategy with personal attacks on Barrett. Fears (or desires) of Kavanaugh II: Religion Boogaloo seem to have been misplaced — on both sides.

Senate Democrats may well end up owning this week on health care. Next week, however, they will end up back on defense as McConnell forces a vote on new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, in order to forestall layoffs ahead of the election. McConnell threw down the gauntlet this morning, daring Chuck Schumer to filibuster relief spending again:

“Last month, 52 Senate Republicans voted to pass hundreds of billions more dollars for priorities like testing, healthcare, safe schools, unemployment benefits, and economic support. That included legislation from Chairman Rubio and Senator Collins that would provide a second round of the PPP for the hardest-hit small businesses while streamlining the program and strengthening oversight.

“Republicans had the votes to pass all this relief. But Senate Democrats chose to filibuster it dead.

“Democrats have spent months blocking policies they do not even oppose. They say anything short of their multi-trillion-dollar wish list, jammed with non-COVID-related demands, is “piecemeal” and not worth doing. Speaker Pelosi frequently says she feels “nothing” is better than “something.” And she has worked hard to ensure that nothing is what American families get.

“When the full Senate returns on October 19th, our first order of business will be voting again on targeted relief for American workers, including new funding for the PPP. Unless Democrats block this aid for workers, we will have time to pass it before we proceed as planned to the pending Supreme Court nomination as soon as it is reported by the Judiciary Committee.

What makes this particularly biting is some of the grandstanding this week on COVID-19 relief in the Barrett hearing. Both Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker proclaimed that getting relief in the hands of Americans should have taken priority over filling a Supreme Court opening, even though the same Senate Democrats filibustered McConnell’s “skinny” Phase 4 last month. This is McConnell’s attempt to make Senate Democrats eat their words and block relief again — two weeks before the election.

Just how successful will that be, even electorally? Democrats have made it clear that they have no intention of giving up their leverage by tackling COVID-19 relief on a component basis, and even McConnell’s “skinny” package bundled GOP priorities. And it doesn’t help when the party’s leader keeps messaging Congress to “go big” rather than go one step at a time:

Pelosi’s not going to settle for a component approach either, especially with Trump signaling that he’s willing to go a lot farther than McConnell. That doesn’t mean she’s not facing pressures of her own, as Roll Call’s Lindsey McPherson reported last night:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to keep her caucus together as she holds out for a better coronavirus relief package than the Trump administration’s latest $1.8 trillion proposal, but some Democrats are growing impatient as the window to enact a law before the Nov. 3 election closes.

“We’re in a place that we should be able to cut a deal,” Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., told CQ Roll Call in an interview.

Khanna said Democrats should be able to accept most of what’s in the $1.8 trillion offer Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made to Pelosi on Friday because it provides at least some relief in all the key areas they have been pushing. The offer includes $300 billion for state and local governments, $400 per week in federal unemployment benefits into January, $60 billion for rental and mortgage assistance, $28 billion in student loan relief and $15 billion in food assistance.

“We have a moral obligation to do something,” Khanna, a leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said. “We are the party that stands for the working poor.”

At the moment, Pelosi’s been standing more for the working bureaucrats in state and local government. The bloc-grant aid has been the biggest obstacle in the negotiations, even though Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has conceded a significant amount of spending on it. At the moment, Mnuchin and Trump have moved to a $1.8 trillion package, about $1.5 trillion over the package that Senate Democrats filibustered, while Pelosi has come down about $1.3 trillion from her original HEROES Act spending level.

Pelosi thinks she can wring more concessions out of the GOP, apparently:

Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a roughly $1.8 trillion plan — about $400 billion less than the bill House Democrats passed earlier this month. Pelosi has dismissed the proposal, and on Tuesday suggested Trump “only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the [stock] market to go up.”

“Over 215,000 Americans have died, nearly 7.8 million have been infected and millions more are still without jobs or income security and therefore struggling to make rent and put food on the table,” she wrote to House Democrats. “Tragically, the Trump proposal falls significantly short of what this pandemic and deep recession demand.”

In other words, rather than go moderately big, Pelosi would prefer to go home — and send her majority caucus back to voters to explain why half of the HEROES Act loaf was worse than none at all. At least among voters who haven’t already cast ballots, that’ll be one tough sell.