Second verse, same as the first. As COVID-19 cases escalate nearly exponentially across the US, governors expand restrictions on commerce and assembly, and hospitals start warning about capacity, the need for some action by Congress to address the second wave has become obvious. Just as obviously, we can expect to see more economic damage in the weeks ahead as states begin to move back to shutdown mode, endangering the fragile economic recovery we have already seen.

For the first couple of months since the expiration of the CARES Act, gridlock on a follow-up stimulus/relief bill was shrugged off over the continuing economic growth. After that, when cases started edging up again, gridlock was explained away by the election and the need for both sides to deny the other any advantage with voters.

So what’s the excuse this week? Despite the clear and ominous changes in the pandemic, neither side in Congress is budging from their October positions:

Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said they have no plans to budge from their position of demanding a $2 trillion coronavirus relief measure, and no less. Barely an hour later, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected their approach in remarks to a pair of reporters.

The GOP leader said that he still believes a bill of about $500 billion is the way to go, even though Senate Democrats have repeatedly rejected his proposal. He said the improving economy only makes it clearer the Senate should do something “highly targeted at what the residual problems are.”

“I gather [Pelosi] and the Democratic leader in the Senate still are looking at something dramatically larger. That’s not a place I think we’re willing to go,” McConnell said. “But I do think there needs to be another package. Hopefully we can get past the impasse we’ve had now for four or five months and get serious.”

That leaves no clear way forward on the negotiations, even as the country sees record infections and a rise in hospitalizations and deaths from the virus. Pelosi’s talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin faltered in late October, and they have not spoken since the election.

Nancy Pelosi offered this bon mot to set the post-election, lame-duck tone:

This, to put it mildly, is insane. Pelosi’s holding out for bloc-granted state aid, while McConnell is holding out only for targeted spending on COVID-19 relief only. Senate Democrats shot that down, and Pelosi outright rejected that approach when it might have done some good. A week ago, McConnell even signaled that he’d be willing to offer some concessions on bloc-grant state aid to get a bill done right away. Rather than engage on that offer, Pelosi’s blaming Republicans for deaths instead. It’s the worst kind of partisan demagoguery, and it comes at the worst possible time.

No one can blame Trump for this, either. He wanted a big bill, only without the bloc-grant aid, but Steven Mnuchin eventually offered a halfway-mark compromise on that score too. Pelosi rejected it outright in October.

This doesn’t even make sense in terms of incentives. Thanks in large part to Pelosi herself, she will have less leverage after the first of the year for these kinds of negotiations. In fact, there’s a very good chance that this kind of demagoguery might result in Pelosi losing her seat at the negotiating table; she barely got past her last Speaker election, and it’s almost certain she’ll fail in two months to hold it. McConnell will almost certainly still be Senate Majority Leader at that point, but even if he’s not, Republicans have more than enough votes to filibuster a pork-filled stimulus/relief package. Pelosi’s best chance at clinging to her leadership position at this point is to deliver a Phase 4 relief bill by working with McConnell on a quick and quiet compromise.

The only possible explanation for this is that Nancy Pelosi has decided to go down like Brunnhilde in Valhalla as party leader. And like Brunnhilde, she seems fine with taking everyone else with her.