Suddenly, Pelosi wants a coronavirus stimulus deal

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The margin favoring Democrats in the generic ballot for the House is slipping, from about 8 points to about 6 in the last few weeks (one could say the Dem lead has had a bad haircut).

Given GOP redistricting advantages in several states — especially Ohio and North Carolina, and to a lesser extent in a few other states — plus the fact that Dems win big majorities in minority-majority districts, Dems may need at least a 6-point advantage to hold control of the House. Dems have invested heavily in districts they picked up in 2018, but overall, the House has had lesser emphasis than the presidential race or the battles for Senate control. Pelosi is likely getting nervous, since her own importance and power depend on holding the majority.

A bipartisan group in the House (the “problem solvers”) is working on a compromise bill to provide more stimulus, which the Fed and most economists seem to think will be required until the COVID virus reaches lower levels, where a higher percentage of the economy is functioning again.

The Dem strategy was to prevent passage of what they call a skinny bill in the Senate, which would have then led to a conference committee of members of both houses to produce a new bill (the House earlier passed their $3-trillion-plus “Heroes” bill). But if House control is at risk, then blaming Trump for no second big bill as the economy slips again may be failing as a strategy.

Hence the new Pelosi approach of keeping the House open until agreement is reached between both Senate and House. The timing is uncertain:

“We have to stay here until we have a bill,” the California Democrat told her caucus on a call, according to a senior aide.

There is no vote on coronavirus-related aid scheduled for the House’s current three-week session, and talks between Democratic leadership and the White House have been nonexistent for weeks.

The problem for the Democrats is that the failure to pass a new stimulus bill may not be the reason for the slipping Democratic lead in the generic ballot. The problem may be the resonance of the Trump and Republican law and order message as more cities and states come under siege from violent protesters.