House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is reportedly why Democrats suddenly opposed an emergency coronavirus relief bill that had bipartisan support in the Senate.
According to Ben Williamson, the chief of staff for Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Pelosi returned to Washington, D.C., on Sunday with a wish list of sudden demands, striking down the bipartisan agreement made by the Senate.
“Senate spends all weekend negotiating a bipartisan deal. Agreement reached. Pelosi flies in from California, whips out her unrelated ‘wishlist,’ and says no. Senate Democrats then vote against proceeding on a bill they negotiated. Jaw dropping,” Williamson explained.
Senate spends all weekend negotiating a bipartisan deal. Agreement reached. Pelosi flies in from California, whips out her unrelated “wishlist,” and says no. Senate Democrats then vote against proceeding on a bill they negotiated.
— Ben Williamson (@_WilliamsonBen) March 22, 2020
John Bresnahan, Politico’s Washington bureau chief, reported that Pelosi had a “laundry list” of new demands, including many items completely unrelated to COVID-19 relief, like election security funding, student loan debt forgiveness, and a “host of other issues.”
Despite the Senate’s agreement, Pelosi also revealed on Sunday that House Democrats would move forward with their own coronavirus relief package.
According to Politico, Pelosi’s actions even have some members of the Democratic caucus questioning her motives.
Many of those same provisions are also being negotiated in the Senate bill but some House Democrats wanted to go even further, using the urgency of the herculean package to achieve broader, long term policy goals like a massive infrastructure deal.
But even some House Democrats are privately wondering what is Pelosi’s endgame, especially given that lawmakers, including many in her own caucus, don’t even want to return to Washington at all, much less for a standoff with the Senate.
The motive, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, is political — it is all about hurting President Donald Trump.
“Some Dems are betting that Trump will be received as Bush post-Katrina as opposed to Bush post-9/11. And there’s a split among Dems about how they ought to be handling Trump in this moment, which so far has ended up benefiting the president,” Haberman reported Sunday.
Some Dems are betting that Trump will he received as Bush post-Katrina as opposed to Bush post-9/11. And there’s a split among Dems about how they ought to be handling Trump in this moment, which so far has ended up benefiting the president. https://t.co/RbiB5c20jh
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 22, 2020
Democrats have already seized on the moment to further demonize Republicans.
It is well established that Republicans and Democrats in the Senate had come to an agreement on the relief package. But after Pelosi’s bucking, Democrats began circulating talking points that blamed Republicans for the impasse. They claimed Republicans attempted to insert a $500 billion “slush fund” into the bill.
But according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Democrats are just playing games.
“The notion that we have time to play games here with the American economy and the American people is utterly absurd,” he said in a fiery speech on the Senate floor Sunday night.