House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) threatened to kill Republicans’ latest coronavirus relief proposal before they even got a chance to read it.
According to The Hill, Pelosi and Schumer declared that pared-down COVID-19 relief legislation from the GOP is “headed nowhere” in a statement Tuesday, hours before Republicans actually released their bill.
“Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere. If anyone doubts McConnell’s true intent is anything but political, just look at the bill,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. They went on:
This proposal is laden with poison pills Republicans know Democrats would never support.
“A new targeted proposal”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the new $300 billion bill to target certain coronavirus relief priorities later Tuesday, according to Fox News. “The Senate Republican majority is introducing a new targeted proposal, focused on some of the very most urgent health care, education, and economic issues,” McConnell said in a statement Tuesday as senators returned from recess.
The new bill reportedly includes more help for businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, assistance for schools and universities, and $300 per week in additional unemployment benefits for individuals through the end of December.
It also includes liability protection for businesses so that they can’t be sued if someone contracts COVID-19, Fox notes.
Democrats wanted to spend another $3.4 trillion, much of it on giveaways to their supporters, making sure the economy doesn’t rebound before the election, and bailing out state and local governments that were in trouble before the coronavirus ever hit. Oh, and, of course, it funded mail-in voting.
GOP changes lanes
Republicans previously introduced a $1.1 trillion relief package that included more stimulus checks for most Americans and other initiatives, but fell far short of the Democrats’ bill, The Hill noted. The previous GOP plan was abandoned without a vote at the time of the August congressional recess because Pelosi and Schumer refused to do much more than drop a trillion off their bill by shortening the time period for most of the aid.
Some Republicans also withheld their support for the earlier bill because they thought it was too big and more than was needed with the economy continuing to improve.
Let’s remember that the U.S. has already allocated $4 trillion to coronavirus relief at a time when the budget was not even balanced on regular spending for the year. To many Republicans, going another trillion dollars into debt was not an appealing prospect.
Still, some sort of additional aid could be a positive thing for helping vulnerable Republicans in the Senate with their re-election efforts. McConnell is well aware of this and wants to get a vote on the record.
As for the Democrats, how sad is it that their best hopes of getting into or staying in office depend on preventing the GOP from passing a bill that would help the economy and many Americans? And yet this is where Pelosi and Schumer find themselves. No wonder they want to declare any relief bill that truly helps people dead on arrival.