So Congress made a COVID relief deal. It’s not awful under the circumstances, but it’s not enough, not nearly enough, and the direct checks and unemployment benefits will run only through March.
In other words, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans agreed to a pretty minimal number to last just long enough to make sure that arguments about the next stimulus start right after Joe Biden gets sworn in.
And Democrats will start fighting each other over its scope exactly three minutes after this current one passes. I can hear Mitch McConnell gurgling as he tells John Cornyn, “All we have to do is sit back and watch them eat each other.” Liberals and leftists will come at Biden with all sorts of demands and litmus tests, all of them to different extents valid and important. But many of those demands will be too in-the-weeds for regular voters. As far as the broader public is concerned, Biden’s first 100 days, indeed maybe his first year, will come down to a simple, single issue: how he handled the pandemic. That’s what people will talk about around water coolers, once they’re gathering around water coolers again, and his performance will be measured in two ways.