MarketWatch: First week of coronavirus aid talks in Congress make no progress

I spoke to Jonathan Nicholson of MarketWatch about ongoing negotiations over the next phase of the congressional covid response, recent progress (or lack thereof), and how this stalemate might be resolved.

Liam Donovan, a principal with Bracewell LLP’s Policy Resolution Group, a Washington-based lobbying and public relations firm, said it’s hard to figure out how a deal gets done quickly.

“It still takes some magical thinking to figure out, working backward, how do they get to a deal,” he said. “If we’re talking a week from now and they somehow got to a deal, was it simply the pressure of taking off? Was it the threat of losing recess time? I don’t quite know.”

But Donovan said Democrats are holding the upper hand now in bargaining because of Republican disunity. That could change though, he said, as the Republican Senate begins finally taking votes on policies. The Senate, on a 47-42 vote Friday, began the procedural process to begin to debate the unemployment add-on.

And while resolving that issue would be major progress, Donovan said he still thinks the liability provisions that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called a “red line” are an even bigger hurdle.

“That was always going to be the trickiest piece to sort out,” he said.

Read the full piece here.

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