Close McConnell observers think his ‘blue state bailout’ rhetoric is just a ploy
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Gage Skidmore.)

Writing for POLITICO this Tuesday, Ben White says that Republicans are attempting to pull off a "high-wire act" over the next three months: to reopen the economy while resisting another stimulus package. "If they fail, they’ll face a coronavirus cliff — an even deeper collapse in spending and sky-high unemployment in the months before Election Day," White writes.

Republicans are currently betting that reopening the economy is the right thing to do and the already-allocated $3 trillion will be enough to get things rolling again.

"But it remains far from clear that it will be anywhere near enough to restore the tens of millions of jobs lost in recent weeks," writes White. "A provision of the enhanced unemployment benefits enacted under the CARES Act added $600 per week to jobless benefits offered by states — but only through July 31."

But if new outbreaks happen and shutdowns are needed again, the political toll could be through the roof.

According to sources close to McConnell, despite his recent remarks urging states to consider bankruptcy instead of accepting more funds, he knows another significant injection of federal funds "will be required to boost the economy heading toward Election Day."

"Blocking one could wreck the prospects for numerous GOP candidates in November," White reports. "These people say McConnell is simply trying to start negotiations on a footing more friendly to the Senate GOP caucus while holding off other recent Democratic demands on mandating states to allow mail-in voting, clean energy, food stamp benefits and other wish list items. They say there will likely be another coronavirus relief bill, but that it will be significantly smaller than the CARES Act and only passed with both chambers in session in Washington."

Read the full op-ed over at POLITICO.