If you needed more proof that Democrats see the coronavirus outbreak as a political opportunity, look no further than the COVID-19 economic stimulus package. It appears that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats attempted to sneak in a loophole for the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal dollars from being used to pay for abortions, into the legislation.
Republicans were having none of it.
“While schools are closing and hospitals are gearing up, Speaker Pelosi is waging unnecessary culture wars. Speaker Pelosi should be fighting the coronavirus pandemic, not politicizing emergency funding by fighting against the bipartisan Hyde Amendment,” Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) told National Review in a statement. “We need to be ramping up our diagnostic testing, not waging culture wars at the behest of Planned Parenthood. Good grief.”
Pelosi tried to include provisions into the package that would mandate $1 billion to reimburse laboratories, which the White House claims would establish a precedent that all health claims for any procedure, including abortion, could be reimbursed with taxpayer dollars, effectively bypassing the restrictions of the Hyde Amendment.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spun the situation differently when she was interviewed on Fox News Thursday evening. She told Brett Baier that “right now we are hearing that some of the fights and some of the gridlock is because people are trying to put pro-life provisions into this.”
But others joined in the calling out of Pelosi for such a partisan move during a national crisis.
Speaker Pelosi dropped a totally partisan coronavirus bill at the eleventh hour and snuck in provisions that have nothing to do with #COVIDー19.
We all care about fighting this disease, preventing its spread, & protecting Americans. We must put politics aside and work together. pic.twitter.com/I2pJK6D5Ev
— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) March 12, 2020
Pelosi wasted the whole week behind closed doors drafting a partisan bill full of liberal fantasies that have nothing to do w/ Coronavirus.
Republicans are ready to work w/ Dems on SERIOUS solutions.
Now is not the time for politics. Pelosi needs to stop the games & work w/ us.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) March 12, 2020
We owe it to the American people to get this right, and I am confident that if we come together as adults, we can act responsibly in the next 48 hours.
But a “my way or the highway” approach is not the right way to handle a serious health epidemic. pic.twitter.com/bDWd0G8ug0
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 12, 2020
Pelosi announced on Friday that a deal was finally reached on the coronavirus package, though, according to Fox News, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “has not yet signed off on the pact and House Republicans also aren’t completely on board”
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis