Senate Democrats blocked a bipartisan bill to inject much-needed funding into the U.S. economy on Sunday and Monday while House Democrats compiled wish-list legislation to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis. Their bill includes a $15/hour minimum wage, emissions standards for air carriers, funding for the John F. Kennedy Center, and more. Republicans in both the House and the Senate loudly condemned these heinous tactics, setting the record straight and demanding Democrats drop the charade and engage in good-faith efforts to help the American people.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell mentioned just a few “eleventh-hour demands that Democrats have decided are more important than Americans’ paychecks and the personal safety of doctors and nurses.” Namely, the Democrats prioritized “tax credits for solar and wind energy,” “special treatment for Big Labor,” and “airlines’ emissions standards.”
These are just some of the unrelated demands Senate Democrats have used to slow relief for workers and families:
✖️ Tax credits for solar and wind energy
✖️ Special treatment for Big Labor
✖️ Airlines' emissions standards
This is a crisis. Why is only one side acting like it? pic.twitter.com/MRfnXT1HJ2
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) March 23, 2020
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) quoted former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who infamously told The Wall Street Journal, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
“Sadly, we’re seeing the embodiment of that cynical approach right now,” Cruz declared. He noted that the Democrats’ bill includes a provision “changing the emissions standards on airplanes. Mr. President, what the hell do the emissions standards on airplanes have to do with thousands of people dying and millions of people out of work in the coronavirus epidemic?!”
“Don’t treat this bill like a partisan Christmas list,” Cruz added. He noted that he’d love to abolish the IRS, but he isn’t submitting amendments to every spending bill to get his pet project in there.
Yesterday Senate Democrats didn’t show up to work.
They didn’t show up as healthcare heroes risked their lives to save others.
They didn’t show up as millions of workers at home wondered if they will even have a job to go back to.
Let’s hope they show up today. pic.twitter.com/SV0p1JS8GW
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) March 24, 2020
“We’ve got families that are suffering,” Sen. Sasse (R-Neb.) said in a statement. “We’ve got small businesses that are closing literally by the hour. We have doctors fighting to prevent their hospitals from being overwhelmed. And what does Speaker Pelosi try to do? She’s trying to take hostages about her dream legislation, all sorts of dream legislative provisions that have nothing to do with this moment and say the American public can’t get access to the public health piece of legislation or the economic relief pieces of legislation unless she gets hostages that are entirely unrelated to this moment.”
“Speaker Pelosi can bring her liberal wish list to the House Floor for a vote any time she likes. Unlike most of us she controls an agenda, but she ought to have the decency to vote on her ideologically-driven wish list after this emergency legislation has been passed,” he added.
“Families and businesses need help now to survive the China virus pandemic,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) tweeted. “But [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] walked away from negotiations to write her own bill, full of absurd provisions completely unrelated to the crisis at hand. Here’s what Speaker Pelosi is demanding while Americans suffer:”
Families and businesses need help now to survive the China virus pandemic. But @SpeakerPelosi walked away from negotiations to write her own bill, full of absurd provisions completely unrelated to the crisis at hand. Here’s what Speaker Pelosi is demanding while Americans suffer:
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) March 23, 2020
Cotton listed no fewer than 24 points, including “Corporate pay statistics by race and race statistics for all corporate boards at companies receiving assistance,” “Provisions on official time for union collective bargaining,” “Greenhouse gas statistics for individual flights,” “Retirement plans for community newspaper employees,” “$602,000,000 for the Internal Revenue Service,” “$33,200,000 for new facilities for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” “$25,000,000 for the House of Representatives,” and more.
“The Democrats see an opportunity in this crisis. Not to help the American people, but to hold an emergency relief bill hostage until they get their radical wish list,” Cotton added, bitterly. “How long will Arkansans and Americans across the country have to wait?”
The Democrats see an opportunity in this crisis.
Not to help the American people, but to hold an emergency relief bill hostage until they get their radical wish list.
How long will Arkansans and Americans across the country have to wait?
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) March 23, 2020
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) slammed Democrats for claiming to support workers while pushing policies that would drive their employers out of business.
“Democrats can’t claim to be the party of workers when they advocate for policies that make businesses fail. Businesses employ workers. You can’t have one without the other,” he tweeted. “This is the critical fact that the left chooses to ignore, at our country’s peril.”
Democrats can’t claim to be the party of workers when they advocate for policies that make businesses fail.
Businesses employ workers.
You can’t have one without the other.
This is the critical fact that the left chooses to ignore, at our country’s peril. https://t.co/cDCy6NFfOL
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) March 24, 2020
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) noted that Pelosi’s bill includes “$300M for public broadcasting,” “new tax credits for wind and solar,” “Green New Deal standards on airlines,” and a “federal takeover of elections.”
“Let’s focus on addressing the problem and fighting the virus, not liberal pet projects,” he declared.
Speaker Pelosi's bill:
-$300M for public broadcasting
-New tax credits for wind and solar
-Green New Deal standards on airlines
-Federal takeover of elections
Let's focus on addressing the problem and fighting the virus, not liberal pet projects.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) March 24, 2020
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) gave one of the strongest full-throated responses.
“Throw this bill in the trash that Pelosi filed and get back to work for the American people that are literally facing losing everything if this game goes on longer,” Scalise declared.
— SiriusXM Patriot (@SiriusXMPatriot) March 24, 2020
He explained why he so vehemently opposes the bill. “What’s in Nancy Pelosi’s bill to supposedly deal with Coronavirus? [The bill] mandates climate change studies, forces airlines to spend money on carbon offsets—not workers, [and includes] massive union giveaways,” Scalise added. “She’s holding the American people’s well-being hostage to her liberal agenda. Shameless.”
What’s in Nancy Pelosi's bill to supposedly deal with Coronavirus?
– Mandates climate change studies
– Forces airlines to spend money on carbon offsets—not workers
– Massive union giveaways
She's holding the American people’s well-being hostage to her liberal agenda. Shameless.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) March 23, 2020
As the Heritage Foundation pointed out, the original Senate bill was far from perfect — but it did primarily address the coronavirus crisis without smuggling in items from a liberal Christmas wish list. That bill also represented a compromise between Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The Democrat bill, by contrast, represents one party’s extremely partisan attempt to twist the coronavirus to its advantage.
Americans are dying and losing their jobs, and Democrats are focused on scoring political points. Despicable.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.