The recent stimulus package, which had bi-partisan support, provided for a $600 payment to approximately 160 million Americans. Donald Trump, as unpredictable as ever, lambasted the measure, because it included a whole bunch of garbage, and called for less waste and $2,000 stimulus payments.
Pelosi and McConnell now find themselves in the unusual position of defending something they both supported. Not surprisingly, Pelosi and McConnell each publicly blamed the other, while privately defending the measure.
At first glance, it would appear that a pure stimulus measure costing $800 billion or more might just include as much as a $5,000 check for each of the 160 million recipients ($5k times 160 million is $800 billion).
Both McConnell and Pelosi agree, off the record, that it’s not that easy, and that the following should be noted:
There are a number of well-paid Washington lobbyists who are expected to get special favors for their clients in measures like this. A straightforward stimulus package might result in a number of them being unemployed.
There are excellent legislators in both parties who rely on campaign contributions from large donors to ensure their reelection. Although an explicit quid pro quo for these contributions would be illegal, an informal understanding is not. A straightforward stimulus package would violate this informal understanding.
Everyone knows that nothing that comes out of Washington is as straightforward or simple as it could be. A basic stimulus package without all sorts of needless bells and whistles would violate this long-standing norm.