Just last week, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill to keep the economy going as the nation observes a “stay at home” policy. But Democrats are already licking their chops to take another stab at passing items on their wish list that are totally unrelated to stimulating the economy or bailing people out of a financial crisis.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not having any of it.
“She needs to stand down on the notion that we’re going to go along with taking advantage of the crisis to do things that are unrelated to the crisis,” McConnell told The Washington Post.
McConnell added that “what’s really happening here is, she’s looking for a way to jam us.”
Pelosi’s drive to remove the cap from deducting state and local taxes at $10,000 is getting under McConnell’s skin.
House Democrats are still trying to use this crisis to push unrelated pet priorities.
Last week: Carbon regulations.
Now? A tax giveaway for wealthy people in blue states, panned by economists across the spectrum.
This is a crisis. Let's act like it. https://t.co/okeS98rSkc
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) April 1, 2020
Some of the ideas Pelosi floated, including a massive infrastructure plan and reversing the 2017 tax law’s $10,000 cap on the state and local tax (SALT), have been panned by McConnell.
Lawmakers in both parties and the administration have talked for years about doing a massive infrastructure package, and President Trump renewed his call for it this week.
But McConnell told The Post that the sticking point remained the same: How to pay for such a bill.
Trump wants an infrastructure bill that builds, well, infrastructure. Pelosi wants an infrastructure bill that grows the power of the unions. Neither one of them wants to pay for it, which may be a bigger problem this time around.
“There is a reality of how you pay for it. We just passed a $2 trillion bill, and it would take a lot of convincing to convince me that we should do transportation in a way that’s not credibly paid for after what we just passed last week,” he said.
It’s not that there’s a groundswell of opposition to the bill — or any stimulus, for that matter — because of its cost. We heard barely a peep from Republicans about how we’re going to pay for the $2 trillion bill when we’re already running a trillion-dollar budget deficit. But it’s just possible that there is unease in the heartland over the cumulative cost of these bills and, with an election coming up, they may wish to pretend to be responsible legislators and question some of the expenditures.
But McConnell is trying to put a damper on Pelosi’s enthusiasm by taking a “wait and see” approach.
The GOP leader hasn’t ruled out a fourth bill, but he and several members of his caucus have signaled that they want to wait to see what impact the third bill has before deciding what additional legislation from Congress might be needed. The Senate is currently out of town until April 20.