Nancy Pelosi’s partisan power grab
It’s been a tough couple of months as our nation-and the entire world-deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Many of us know someone who has been infected by the virus and some of us have lost loved ones as a result.
We’ve become accustomed to the new norm of social distancing, teleworking, and communicating with friends and family using new and creative methods.
Millions of Americans have tested positive for COVID and thousands have died. We mourn the loss of those lost and thank all of the heroes who have performed lifesaving and life sustaining jobs during these trying months.
On an economic level, the consequences have been devastating as well with unemployment numbers up nationwide and here at home in West Virginia.
With these terrible facts, it was right for Congress to come together to take bold action.
We have enacted four major pieces of bipartisan legislation in response to COVID. Most significant among those bills is the CARES Act, which passed the United States Senate 96-0.
The CARES Act provided significant relief for individuals, families, hospitals, small businesses, and more. It provided unemployment benefits, more money for testing, and programs that support our small businesses through this unprecedented time.
As we face the possibility of a second wave of infections later this year, we will likely need to deliver additional relief to Americans. However, we are still in the middle of distributing the money appropriated in the CARES Act. It’s appropriate that Congress examine the effectiveness of the CARES Act as well as the ongoing need for resources before considering new legislation to aid the nation’s response.
Any legislation passed in response to this crisis should be bipartisan and be tailored to respond to COVID and the economic problems it has caused.
Speaker Pelosi’s COVID legislation that passed the House of Representatives recently fails on both counts.
To the extent, there was bipartisanship, it came from the 14 Democrats who voted against the speaker’s partisan wish list. And, the bill was certainly not tailored to help Americans respond to the COVID crisis.
Here are a few reasons why:
First, the legislation takes a massive step toward federalizing our elections by requiring same day voter registration and prohibiting states from requiring photo identification at polling places. Decisions that should be made by state and local officials would instead be micromanaged in Washington.
Aside from being bad policy, what does that have to do with COVID or helping small businesses and working families?
Additionally, the word cannabis appears in Speaker Pelosi’s bill 68 times and would require a report to make sure that women and minorities are able to fully participate in the cannabis industry.
How does that relate to COVID?
By allowing stimulus payments to be sent to individuals without a verified Social Security number, Speaker Pelosi’s bill would send taxpayer dollars to illegal immigrants.
The bill would also appropriate $50 million in funding that will-among other things-assist those who are working to stop coal and natural gas production. That is the exact opposite of promoting economic recovery in our state.
While working families continue to struggle, Speaker Pelosi’s bill offers significant tax relief for rich taxpayers in high tax states.
Overall, the House bill costs more than $3 trillion while doing little to help our economy recover or get laid off workers back on the job.
There is a bipartisan model for working together in response to this crisis, but that model is certainly not what the House followed.
The Senate is continuing to hold hearings to learn more about the current crisis and provide oversight. More importantly, we are listening to people in our states.
I am confident that we will take responsible action to build our economy, put people back to work, and help keep our families safe and healthy.
Speaker Pelosi’s legislation will not become law, as she already knows. But, we will continue to press forward to respond as one nation and one people to this unprecedented disaster.