In a 47-47 vote, Senate Democrats blocked a critical $2 trillion coronavirus economic relief package on Sunday. The move sent futures markets plummeting by over 5%. According to the Washington Examiner, the Democrats have stalled the plan to pass the bill by Monday and send it to the House for a vote.
President Donald Trump and congressional leaders hoped the measure would send a signal that would help stabilize the stock market and U.S. economy amid fears of recession as economic analysts estimate unemployment levels could hit up to an unprecedented 30% in April-June with GDP contracting by 50%, figures not seen since the Great Depression.
The bill included trillions in aid for working families and small businesses
Democrats blocked a package that includes direct cash payments averaging around $3,000 per family ($1,000 per adult and $500 per child), as well as an expansion of unemployment benefits and over $850 billion in loans to small businesses and industries directly impacted by the deadly pandemic that has brought the U.S. economy to a grinding halt.
As recently as Saturday, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) was hailing the measure as bipartisan, but Democrats sang a different tune on Sunday, arguing the relief amounted to a “slush fund” for corporations. Republicans blasted the Democrats for playing politics at the expense of American taxpayers.
“You’d think the nonsense [Bernie Sanders] class warfare rhetoric would take a break for a minute during a pandemic,” a Senate source told RealClearNews. “Corporations employ Americans. This is about keeping their jobs, not corporate executives.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted Democrats’ obstruction in a fiery Senate floor speech.
“The notion that we have time to play games here with the American economy and the American people is utterly absurd,” he said.
“We’ll have this … vote again at some point of my choosing and hopefully some adults will show up on the other side of the room and understand the gravity of the situation and the need to act before the markets go down further and the American people become even more depressed about our lack of ability to come together under the most extraordinary of circumstances,” McConnell said.
McConnell also noted that Democrats would not have been disadvantaged if they had allowed the bill to proceed in its current form and further negotiations would have still been possible.
“If this vote had succeeded … it would have required potentially 30 more hours of discussion during which negotiations could go on as long as they would like,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after Democrats block coronavirus relief bill: “the American people expect us to act…this obstruction achieves nothing”https://t.co/d2WM0q0ESS pic.twitter.com/DNoVV89M3p
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 23, 2020
The following day, Nancy Pelosi debuted a 1,120-page coronavirus rescue bill.
- Increased fuel emission standards for airlines receiving funds and carbon offsets: (1) IN GENERAL. Not later than 90 days after the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall require each air carrier receiving assistance under section 101, to fully offset the annual carbon emissions of such air carriers for domestic flights beginning in 2025.
(1) IN GENERAL. The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall require each air carrier receiving assistance under section 101 to:(A) make and achieve a binding commitment to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to the domestic flights of such air carrier in every calendar year, beginning with 2021, on a path consistent with a 25 percent reduction in the aviation sector’s emissions from 2005 levels by 2035, and a 50 percent reduction in the sector’s emissions from 2005 levels by 2050, applying the standards, recommended practices, and guidance agreed to by the United States pursuant to the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011
- Payment for up to $10,000 in student loans: (1) MINIMUM STUDENT LOAN RELIEF AS A RESULT OF THE COVID–19 NATIONAL EMERGENCY. Not later than 270 days after the last day of the COVID–19 emergency period, the Secretaries concerned shall jointly carry out a program under which a qualified borrower, with respect to the covered loans and private education of loans of such qualified borrower, shall receive in accordance with paragraph (3) an amount equal to the lesser of the following:(A) The total amount of each covered loan and each private education loan of the borrower; or
- Same-day voter registration, early voting, voting by mail, ballot harvesting The bill includes several provisions on voting laws and regulations, as Democrats argue that the crisis should force the government to revisit voting regulations to make it easier to vote, allowing same-day voter registration and voting by mail, and mailing out ballots to absentee voters. Other voting fraud watchdogs raised flags about ballot harvesting and grants for conducting risk-limiting audits of election resultsSame-day registration:
‘‘SEC. 325. SAME DAY REGISTRATION.
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—
‘‘(1) REGISTRATION.—Each State shall permit any eligible individual on the day of a Federal election and on any day when voting, including early voting, is permitted for a Federal election—
‘‘(A) to register to vote in such election at the polling place using a form that meets the requirements under section 9(b) of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (or, if the individual is already registered to vote, to revise any of the individual’s voter registration information); and
‘‘(B) to cast a vote in such election.
Online voter registration:
(a) REQUIRING AVAILABILITY OF INTERNET FOR VOTER REGISTRATION.—
(1) REQUIRING AVAILABILITY OF INTERNET FOR REGISTRATION.—The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (52 U.S.C. 20501 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 6 the following new section:
(2) PERMITTING VOTERS TO DESIGNATE OTHER PERSON TO RETURN BALLOT.—
The State— (A) shall permit a voter to designate any person to return a voted and sealed absentee ballot to the post office, a ballot drop-off location, tribally designated building, or election office so long as the person designated to return the ballot does not receive any form of compensation based on the number of ballots that the person has returned and no individual, group, or organization provides compensation on this basis; and ‘(B) may not put any limit on how many voted and sealed absentee ballots any designated person can return to the post office, a ballot drop off location, tribally designated building, or election office.
Automatic mailing of absentee ballots:
‘(A) AUTOMATIC MAILING OF ABSENTEE BALLOTS TO ALL VOTERS.—If the area in which an election is held is in an area in which an emergency or disaster which is described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of section 1135(g)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b- 5(g)(1)) is declared during the period described in subparagraph.
Grants for risk-limiting audits:
PART 8—GRANTS FOR CONDUCTING RISK- LIMITING AUDITS OF RESULTS OF ELECTIONS ‘‘SEC. 298. GRANTS FOR CONDUCTING RISK-LIMITING AUDITS OF RESULTS OF ELECTIONS.‘(a) AVAILABILITY OF GRANTS.—The Commission shall make a grant to each eligible State to conduct risk-limiting audits as described in subsection (b) with respect to the regularly scheduled general elections for Federal office held in November 2020 and each succeeding election for Federal office.
- Preserving collective bargaining powers for unions Several provisions in the bill include carveouts for big labor, including labor protections, collective bargaining, and organizing, as well as overturning President Trump’s executive orders regarding federal employee unions.
- The expansion of wind and solar tax credits. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other lawmakers specifically called out Democrats for trying to negotiate the expansion of wind and solar tax credits in the bill.
- Requirements for federal and corporate gender and racial diversity data The bill demands that corporate recipients of financial assistance are required to report racial and gender data regarding salaries, number of employees, supplier diversity, and membership on corporate boards. It also requires federal agencies to use businesses and financial institutions owned by minorities or women.
- Post Office Bailout
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE PAYMENT TO POSTAL SERVICE FUND
For payment to the ‘‘Postal Service Fund’’, for revenue forgone due to the coronavirus pandemic, $20,000,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2022: Provided, That such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
- Automatic extension of nonimmigrant visas. Rep. Paul Gosar flagged a provision regarding the automatic extension of nonimmigrant visas.(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, with respect to any alien whose nonimmigrant status, status under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a), or employment authorization has expired within the 30 days preceding the date of the enactment of this act, or will expire not later than one year after such date, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall automatically extend such status or work authorization for the same time period as the alien’s prior status or work authorization.
- Restricting colleges from providing information about citizenship status
(1) INFORMATION.—Only information requested
On the official 2020 decennial census of population form may be provided to the Bureau of the Census pursuant to this section. No institution of higher education may provide any information to the Bureau on the immigration or citizenship status of any individual.
- Money for Planned Parenthood The Hill reported that Democrats want the bill to prop up Planned Parenthood, just another reason why bipartisan efforts have failed to reach a consensus.
Read the legislation below:
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s new stimulus bill would mandate nationwide “ballot harvesting,” allowing party operatives to return other people’s ballots to polling places without “any limit” on the number of ballots.
“Ballot harvesting” was legalized in California in 2016, and first used in the 2018 midterm elections. It allows anyone to drop off someone else’s mail-in ballot at a polling station. There is no process for vetting or verifying those delivering the ballots — no background checks or identification requirements. Democrats dropped hundreds of thousands of ballots off at polling stations in 2018, helping Democrats as they flipped seven Republican seats.
The practice is illegal in most other states, largely because it is susceptible to fraud and intimidation. Republicans were caught flat-footed in 2018; they have experimented with the tactic in recent special elections, only to find the their voters adamantly refuse to give their ballots to strangers. Democrats are more open to the practice — often became the “harvester” also registers the voter, according to Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel.
California’s “ballot harvesting” law has yet to be challenged in court. It is one reason that California remains a one-party state, with little prospect for change in the foreseeable future.
Pelosi wants to take that system nationwide.
Her bill, released Monday afternoon, provides that every state:
A) shall permit a voter to designate any person to return a voted and sealed absentee ballot to the post office, a ballot drop-off location, tribally designated building, or election office so long as the person designated to return the ballot does not receive any form of compensation based on the number of ballots that the person has returned and no individual, group, or organization provides compensation on this basis; and (B) may not put any limit on how many voted and sealed absentee ballots any designated person can return to the post office, a ballot drop off location, tribally designated building, or election office.
In other words, paid party operatives can literally truck thousands and thousands of ballots to the polls, provided they earn a salary or fee, and are not paid by the ballot.
It is a practice that is known in Third World countries as “ballot stuffing,” and is outlawed in every democracy, no matter how poor — even in countries where the physical and administrative obstacles to voting are far greater than in the world’s most developed economy.
And it is Pelosi’s condition for saving the U.S. economy from coronavirus.
She insists on playing partisan politics and putting the Democrat party’s far-left agenda ahead of people’s lives while Americans are dying and losing their jobs.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy went over the liberal policies Democrats are pushing in this rescue bill.
It is truly disgusting.
I’ve been going through Speaker Pelosi’s 1,400-page bill—most of it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the coronavirus crisis.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 24, 2020