Damn the people, pulled pork ahead.
Apologies to Admiral David Farragut and the paraphrase of his declaration at the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864.
In this time of fear, disruption and suffering, one would hope that politics would be far down the list of issues with which we have to deal. It should be a time when putting the people first and compromising for the greater good would be paramount. But Pelosi, Democratic Speaker of the House, and her sycophants in the House will have no truck with that.
Last Saturday, the House introduced a bill to address the needs of the country. Republicans supported the bill. It passed and was sent to the Senate.
After reviewing the bill, Senate Republicans determined that there was a need for more protection for small businesses and drafted a new bill. Senate Democrats charged that the bill favored big business.
Democrats claimed that funds would go to corporate elites who would use them to buy back stocks, had no emergency leave provision, did not help the uninsured and did not protect people from eviction. These provisions seem rational and should have quickly found common ground.
Republicans wanted more money for state and local governments and for hospitals. They wanted funds to stop the bleeding in the financial markets and to give a sign of encouragement that the economy was not going to crash.
The bill contained payments to families, to businesses critical to national defense and to airlines as well as billions of dollars in loans.
Again, that seems reasonable. Schumer, a Democrat, labeled it a “giant corporate bailout.” Democrats refused to vote on the revised Republican bill.
Republicans drafted another bill that provided over $2 trillion of relief. Democrats rejected it, again saying it was a corporate bailout. Corporations that employ thousands must be destroyed.
The bill provided relief to businesses and workers, paid sick and family leave, $300 billion in business loans and unemployment insurance.
Enter Pelosi who lives by two principles: Get rid of Trump and never let Trump have a legislative victory.
She then invoked that famous quote from Democrat Rahm Emanuel: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that (is) it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not before.”
Not to be left out, James Clyburn, a Democrat, chimed in with his own quote: “This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
And there you have the Democratic playbook. If you can’t beat the president at the ballot box, impeach him. If you can’t get legislation through Congress, attach the want list to a life and death bill.
To further their ends, Pelosi unveiled a new bill that contains all the pork that the Democrats could not get through Congress. Relations between the House and Senate quickly soured and discussions resulted in shouting matches.
Why? Because many Democrats seem not to care about saving lives and trying to mitigate the economic effects of the virus. All they care about are the Pelosi principles previously mentioned.
Pelosi’s new bill demands: eliminating postal service debt, money for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, same day voter registration, retirement plans for newspaper employees, offset of airline emissions by 2025, corporate board diversity, pay equity, student loan bailout, a handout to abortion providers and expansion of solar and wind initiatives as well as other Green New Deal projects.
Can anyone who reads this explain how all that spending on the Democratic want list has anything to do with saving American lives or stimulating the economy?
No one can because it is all about “(doing) things that you think you could not before,” and the “opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
Is the Republican Senate bill perfect? No. Could there be stronger measures to ensure large corporations don’t use the money for stock buybacks rather than taking care of their employees? Probably. Unfortunately, compromise is a four-letter word.
Who needs Congress when we can have a crisis?
Come on, Leavenworth Democrats. Tell us how the Democratic want list is relevant to the virus. Enlighten us.
Rich Kiper is a Leavenworth Times columnist.