Meanwhile, almost 30 million Americans said they didn’t have enough to eat in the week ended July 21, the U.S. Census reported.

Voters historically pin the state of the economy on the president. Trump, who campaigned as the consummate dealmaker, has repeatedly forecast a quick rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, by taking a unilateral action and touting its benefit, he’s tied himself more closely to the state of the economy come November.

Some voters may see Trump as taking charge while Congress bickers. Any benefit may be short-lived if the economy remains staggered in the weeks leading up to the election.

Between the government’s pandemic response and the faltering economy, Trump trails Democrat Joe Biden in every recent poll nationally and in electoral battleground states. At a time when fewer Americans are splitting their ballot between political parties, that also presents a danger to congressional Republicans, who are at serious risk of losing their Senate majority.

An extended standoff risks pushing the stimulus negotiations into September when Congress will be wrangling over keeping the government funded and running when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1

The failure to get a deal has dented the reputations of some of Washington’s other would-be deal makers.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, the architect of multiple fruitless government shutdown fights when he headed the House Freedom Caucus, underestimated Democrats’ resolve early on, and pushed for a small-ball deal few in either party liked. Mnuchin, meanwhile, has had to defend himself to Republican senators who suspect him of folding too quickly in negotiations on the last stimulus bill.

Miscalculations
Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer made miscalculations of their own.

“We have to come to an agreement. We have to meet half-way,” Pelosi said on “Fox News Sunday.”

But the top Democrats clung to their $3.4 trillion package until late in the talks, when they offered to cut the topline number closer to $2 trillion. They never forswore some of the portions of their plan disliked by Republicans, including restoring the state and local tax deduction especially valuable to wealthier taxpayers in high-tax states like Schumer’s New York and Pelosi’s California. Their massive plan gave Republicans a political opening to argue they overreached, a theme Mnuchin repeated on Sunday.