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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suddenly found religion — or, at least, a coronavirus relief package not authored by a Democrat that she could support.
Pelosi said she agreed to go along with the $908 billion bipartisan pandemic relief bill and refused to back other bills because we’ve got a “new president and a vaccine.” Is that a tacit admission that she didn’t support extended unemployment payments, money for schools, hospitals, and small businesses because she hated Donald Trump?
Why, yes. Yes, it is.
Of course, we all knew that. But now that a Democratic president is going to be taking office, she feels she can manipulate Biden far more easily than Donald Trump. She’s willing to “settle” for a relief package far less expensive than the $3 trillion passed by the House that she said would be a “starting point” for negotiations.
Pelosi also clashed with a CNN reporter who asked whether it was a mistake not to accept a scaled-down relief package.
“I’m going to tell you something,” she said, pointing her finger. “Don’t characterize what we did before as a mistake, as a preface to your question, if you want an answer. That was not a mistake. It was a decision, and it has taken us to a place where we can do the right thing without other, shall we say, considerations in the legislation that we don’t want.”
Those other considerations include broad liability protection for businesses and vaccine makers. The current bipartisan relief bill being considered by Congress contains limited protection for some businesses.
Democrats are trying to sell the package to their members as a “short-term fix” with much more to come in the form of COVID relief funds.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus that backed the $908 billion bill said he’s been telling colleagues this legislation is an “emergency relief short-term package” to get businesses and families through the tough winter months, and not the last chance at COVID relief. “This is just … a down payment but it covers the major priorities that we have to address right now,” Gottheimer told Fox News.
Biden similarly said this week that the scaled back relief was a “down payment.”
Pelosi and Biden may believe this is a “downpayment,” but perhaps they should ask Senate Republicans what they think about that idea. Several GOP senators have indicated that this is the last time that Democrats can come to them asking for trillions of dollars in relief that may not even be necessary. The deficit numbers are looking scarier and scarier and with Biden set to initiate a multi-trillion-dollar spending spree of his own, Republicans will be prepared next year to draw the line on spending.
A trillion in stimulus money for an economy in the doldrums thanks to lockdown mania should be enough to jump-start business activity and start creating jobs.