Coronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority

Coronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority

Vulnerable Republicans up for reelection are facing high unemployment and serious budget shortfalls in their home states, giving White House negotiators and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) more incentive to cut a relief deal to protect their Senate majority.

Talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Democratic leaders fell apart Friday afternoon, but Senate Republicans are still feeling pressure to reach agreement, even as President Trump’s threatens to use executive action instead.

Democrats said they are still open to negotiations, arguing a bipartisan bill signed into law would be far more effective than a series of executive orders.

A compromise measure that includes state aid and enhanced unemployment benefits would give a boost to GOP incumbents in places like Colorado and Arizona, two states where Democrats have the best chance of knocking off Republicans in November.

In Colorado, the unemployment rate was 10 percent in June, the most recent state-level data available. Arizona’s was slightly higher at 10.5 percent. The national rate, from July, is 10.2 percent.

Iowa, Maine and North Carolina — where GOP senators are neck-and-neck in the polls with Democratic challengers — are also facing serious economic challenges as a result of the coronavirus recession.

On top of that, these battleground states are attempting to navigate budgetary shortfalls that could lead to a wave of state and local government layoffs in the fall, eating into overall economic growth much like it did during the Great Recession.

With lapsed unemployment benefits and expired moratorium on evictions, endangered incumbents like Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) are now under growing pressure to deliver for their constituents.

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