Are Liberals Hijacking America's Second Coronavirus Stimulus?
As we've seen over the past several months, America's battle with COVID-19 and its economic impacts is far from over. Neither party is suggesting that Americans don't require some sort of economic stimulus and unemployment assistance during these unprecedented times.
However, liberals seem to be determined to drag out stimulus talks, despite reasonable Republican suggestions. Nancy Pelosi's $3.4T package includes all kinds of funding for liberal causes, deemed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to be a "liberal wishlist". Though Pelosi claims that this proposal, also known as the "HEROES Act," was merely the beginning for negotiations from the liberal side, she and other House Democrats are refusing to budge from many core pieces of legislation.
What Has Been Proposed
Other than Pelosi's inanely expensive bill, more moderate bills have been proposed. As many know, unemployed Americans were receiving an additional $600 per week under the CARES Act. This recently expired on July 31, leaving Americans with paltry state-level support. This is as low as $5 a week in Hawaii.
A group of Senate Republicans proposed a monthly phaseout by $100 per month and even offered a concession of a short-term extension of the $600 a week payment. This proposal, backed by President Donald Trump, was blocked by Pelosi. She claims to wish to help the people, yet she seems to block every proposal that isn't exactly the bill she has already authored that will (and should) never pass.
Democrats often like to say that they are the "party of the people" while Republicans are there to serve corporations. This is quite interesting, given the fact that Democrats allowed a key provision of the CARES Act that put a moratorium on many forms of eviction to expire on July 31. Republicans and President Trump both backed a "skinny" bill that would have just covered this eviction moratorium.
Pelosi, leader of the so-called "party of the people," said she is not interested in any "piecemeal" bills and wouldn't accept this short-term fix that could have prevented millions of evictions. Again, Republicans proposed a one or two-week extension of the $600 unemployment enhancement. Pelosi likewise blocked this, stating that she is only willing to accept a more comprehensive bill.
Clearly, House Democrats see the economic impact of COVID-19 as a game of power, rather than what it is: a call for leaders to assist the American people in a financially responsible manner.
McConnell ordered that the Senate not go on its scheduled recess on August 7, saying that a bill must be passed. Ordinarily, the Senate would take a break to go back home and campaign. As many have pointed out, they likely wouldn't be received well if they left after passing absolutely nothing to fill the void of the expired provisions of the CARES Act.
However, McConnell is going more hands-off than he was. Initially, McConnell had a set of demands, such as sweeping liability protections for businesses. At this point, he and other Senate Republicans have realized that the Democrats will stop at nothing to ensure they get at least a good chunk of what they want, even if it has nothing to do with helping the American people.
While Mnuchin, Pelosi, and Meadows meet daily, McConnell receives briefings of the meetings but doesn't attend them. He has even stated that he will pass literally anything that both the President and House Democrats pass, even if it has some elements that Republicans might find problematic. Though typically majority leaders attempt to maintain as much clout as possible, the message McConnell is sending is loud and clear: help the American people, no matter what it takes.
All we can do now is hope that the House Democrats can see past the November election and exploiting COVID-19 to sabotage Trump's re-election. They claim to be "making progress" daily, but there is not, at the time of writing, any indication that there's any formal legislation for the President to sign. Thankfully, as a last resort, President Trump has stated that he will take whatever executive action he can to provide relief directly to the American people, should the Democrats cause the legislature to continue to fail the American people and not provide a stimulus or unemployment enhancements, among other things.