Coronavirus relief negotiations resume after Dems’ lefty wish list blows up
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democrats drew national ire this weekend when they rejected a tentative deal for a coronavirus relief package in favor of a new new bill filled with left-wing agenda items, but as of Tuesday afternoon there are signs Democrats might already regret the stunt.
On Sunday, the Senate was slated to vote on a $1.6 trillion bill containing $75 billion for hospitals across the country, $1,200 checks to every American making below $75,000 a year, and financial aid to businesses that have been forced to indefinitely shut down in the interest of containing the virus’ spread.
Before the vote, however, Pelosi announced that she wanted to draft her own plan instead of presiding over House feedback to the Senate version, leading to the vote deadlocking at 47-47.
Democrats publicly complained that the Senate bill needed additional provisions for food stamps, expanded emergency leave, and unemployment insurance. But details soon emerged about the contents of Pelosi’s 1,119-page proposal, many of which were entirely unrelated to the coronavirus response.
Those items include greater collective-bargaining powers for unions, new fuel-emission standards for airlines, expanded tax credits for green energy, mandates for states to allow early voting and same-day voter registration, a bailout for the U.S. Postal Service, and automatic extension of non-immigrant visas.
The development was met with swift and fierce backlash from Republicans and others who wanted a no-frills package focused on the immediate crisis. The negative feedback may have been enough to get Democrats to reconsider; Politico reported that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has returned to the bargaining table with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and White House representatives.
“There are lots of good things here,” Schumer said, predicting that lingering disagreements could be resolved in a matter of hours. “In the last few days, we have made huge progress in achieving these goals.” Pelosi added, “There is real optimism that we could get something done in the next few hours.”
“We’re trying to finalize all the documents, going through a lot of complicated issues, and we're making a lot of progress,” agreed Trump administration Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland said the timeline for a vote would be “as soon as possible.”