Weekly Legislative Update October 12, 2020

Trump Urges Negotiators To "Go Big" On Stimulus/Any Deal Poses Big Problems For Senate Republicans

In an interview with Rush Limbaugh, President Trump said, “I’d like to see a bigger stimulus package than either Democrats or Republicans are offering.”

Later, the White House acknowledged the goal is to “go big,” but keep total cost under $2 trillion.

Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Mnuchin are meeting regularly now, and exchanging offers on remaining issues.

Given the President’s willingness to support a larger stimulus, revenue would be available to resolve most of the Speaker’s issues centering on families, healthcare, and schools. 

This suggests the biggest remaining issues are protections from legal liability related to COVID-19, and funds for state and local governments.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell continues to downplay the likelihood of a deal before the election. 

He has reasons to be wary. Getting fiscally-conservative Republicans, some of whom are standing for reelection, to vote to add another $2 trillion to the national debt is a tough haul for the Leader. 

Senate Democrats—47 in all—have been kept abreast of developments by Senator Schumer and are prepared to vote yea for a bipartisan stimulus bill. Only 13 GOP votes would make the required 60 to pass, but as Republicans control the Senate, it’s doubtful they’d allow any bill to pass without their approval—if they did, it would shame the Party and hurt senators in tough races.

As majority leader, beholden to his caucus, McConnell cannot allow any Pelosi-Schumer-White House deal to come to the floor and pass without a substantial majority of Republican senators supporting it. The President could go to the Hill to persuade reluctant senators to vote for the bill, and he might be successful. Still, the GOP majority is at stake in the elections, they could decide to vote after election day.

Pelosi Wants Larger Stimulus, Trump Talks Limited Bill 

Speaker Pelosi said late last week that while she’s ready to do a stand-alone bill for airlines, there will be no stand-alone bill without a commitment to finish the larger bill she’s been negotiating with Secretary Mnuchin.

Pelosi said she’s still awaiting a reply from Mnuchin on her most recent offer.

Pelosi has been consulting House Democrats, thus her present stance is likely a result of their input.

Trump went on Fox News to say he supports a stimulus bill with airline funds, extension of the Paycheck Protection Program for small business, and $1,200 payments to individuals.

A key force that will shape the final result are Senate Republicans, who’ve been reluctant to support a large stimulus. The last bill they proposed would deliver $650 billion. Democrats kept the bill from coming to the floor.

There are around twenty GOP senators reluctant to pass a large stimulus. But should the President and Speaker come together on a bill, it will cost much more than $650 billion.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell is ready to use his influence to turn reluctant GOP senators around to support whatever agreement, if any, results from the present talks.

President Trump Calls Off Stimulus Negotiations, Later Changes Tune

President Trump tweeted last week, “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major stimulus bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and small business.”

Here’s the reason the President gave:

“Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19. We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith.”

Later in the week the President said: “I’d like to see a bigger stimulus package than either Democrats or Republicans are offering.”

It is unclear whether another stimulus package will pass before the election, with leaders in Congress and the President still at odds for a compromise. We will continue to update you with the latest information that changes on a daily basis. 

Vote for Right to Repair!

Right to Repair will be one of two questions before Massachusetts voters.

Remember, 86% of MA voted in favor of the Right To Repair Question in 2012, but by this year, 2020, advancements in vehicle technology and increasing restrictions by automakers will result in more than 90% of new cars being equipped to transmit real-time diagnostic and repair information wirelessly to vehicle manufacturers, threatening the rights that we enjoy today to choose to get our car fixed at trusted independent repair shops or do the work ourselves.  

Without an update to this law our trusted independent repair shops will be unable to fix their loyal customers cars and thus consumers will have less choice and pay more for their car repairs. The spirit of the Right to Repair Law was to ensure a consumer’s right to get their car repaired where they choose - technology advancements should not impair that choice!

There are over 3,000+ independent repair shops and auto part stores in Massachusetts who rely on access to repair and diagnostic information to properly repair vehicles. It’s critical that this question passes at the ballot so that we can protect mostly importantly the rights of consumers, but also the 30,000 jobs in our independent repair and auto parts industry.

You may have seen ads on both sides of Question 1 as car manufacturers are using egregious scare tactics to continue to hold a monopoly on wireless repair information. Both cyber security experts and law enforcement concur that giving the owner of the car their own car repair information can be done safely and securely - This legislation and ballot initiative do NOT cover GPS or personal information!

We’re almost there! If you live in Massachusetts, come out (or mail in) and vote YES ON QUESTION 1 to protect your car repair choice this November! If you do not live in Massachusetts but have outlets in the state, let us know and we can help get information to those locations to share with their customers.