Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, March 23, 2020
Democratic senators on Sunday blocked a coronavirus stimulus package in which negotiators had given the Democrats essentially everything they wanted, observers said. But the Democrats proclaimed it a corporate giveaway and stopped it in its tracks.
“The bill was not just loans to corporations. It also had relief checks for Americans in it, $100 billion for hospitals, and guarantees of sick leave during the pandemic,” columnist Bonchie wrote for RedState. “Ironically, it’s the kind of bill Democrats would normally drool over, but they’ve decided that trying to get the orange man is more important than saving lives.”
Townhall political editor Guy Benson tweeted: “Spiraling global pandemic w/ people’s livelihoods getting wiped out…and Democrats are filibustering relief bills while internally debating how this will impact their electoral fortunes. Good look!”
In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi returned from a week’s recess to say Democrats would be working up their own bill.
“Pelosi’s poisonous politics feeds the Wuhan virus. She’s exploiting this crisis to advance her radical agenda,” radio and TV host Mark Levin tweeted.
“People are sick and dying and Pelosi is playing games. Apparently the TRILLIONS the Republicans want to spend isn’t enough,” Levin wrote. “Sickening.”
On the Senate floor shortly after noon on Monday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Democrats, specifically saying they were trying to extract concessions from airlines over their “carbon footprint,” with the economy hanging in the balance.
“They ought to be embarrassed,” McConnell said. “This is no time for this nonsense.”
Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton confirmed this on Twitter Monday morning after the same information was tweeted by Benson.
“This report is correct. Pelosi & Schumer are willing to risk your life, your job, your retirement savings for a radical, left-wing wish list that has nothing to do with this virus,” Cotton said. “Disgraceful.”
The Democrats have raised [issues] that have nothing to do with coronavirus, a senior Republican aide told Fox News.
“As (Minority) Leader Schumer continues to hold up the desperately-needed relief package, the last-minute list of demands from Pelosi’s and Schumer’s ideological wish list are coming into focus,” the aide said.
These include new collective bargaining powers for unions, higher fuel emissions standards for airlines, and expanded wind and solar tax credits.
After House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn was reported by The Hill to have said that this is “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision,” McConnell warned against using the “Phase 3” coronavirus relief package as a political opportunity.
“That’s not what this is about,” McConnell said. “This is not about unrelated policy changes, this is about direct assistance to the American people and to small businesses and to hospitals and others who are in need because we in government at all levels, in order to deal with this pandemic, have basically shut the economy down.”
According to The Hill, one Democratic aide explicitly said the party holding up the coronavirus stimulus bill was about protecting the nation’s largest abortion mill, Planned Parenthood.
“A Democratic aide said that the small business provision was drafted to exclude non-profits who receive Medicaid from being eligible for Small Business Administration assistance offered under the bill,” The Hill reported. “That, according to the aide, would impact Planned Parenthood but also community health centers, rape crisis centers and disability service providers.”
Western Journal columnist Joe Saunders noted that “Pelosi & Co. have already shown they have no compunction about using the coronavirus crisis to try to achieve goals they couldn’t in the normal course of American democracy — especially when it comes to abortion.”
But Pelosi and her Democrat cohorts are intent on using a major health crisis to advance their agenda and hope to damage President Donald Trump because they have a compliant major media on their side, critics say. “If Republicans fight back, they’re going to be portrayed in the media as being the heartless ones, the politicians willing to deny Americans relief in a disaster just to keep Democratic priorities at bay,” Saunders wrote. “They know that thanks to four years of ruthlessly negative news coverage, a good deal of the American public is willing to believe any demonization of Trump and his supporters.”
Even left-leaning Politico acknowledged that many of the issues Democrats claim to care about – expanding unemployment insurance, direct aid to individuals as well as hospitals and small businesses – were included in the Senate bill, but House Democrats “wanted to go even further” and achieve “long-term policy goals like a massive infrastructure deal.”
RedState’s Bonchie noted: “This is a brazen, disgusting act by Democrats and they need to pay a price for it. The media will do their best to run cover, but people aren’t stupid. They know what’s going on here. If there’s any justice left in Washington (and there very well may not be), this partisan garbage will backfire massively.”