Over 520,000 people have died due to Covid-19, but every single member of the self-styled “pro-life” party has so far voted against the Covid relief bill. What could they object to that would justify the imminent, ongoing destruction of our country?
In fact, a majority of economists polled by Reuters said they expect President Biden’s Covid aid to return the economy to its pre-COVID-19 size *within a year,* and the bill Democrats passed is largely based on Biden’s January proposal. It offers financial relief to struggling Americans, ramps up vaccination distribution, helps small businesses, and offers support for teachers and schools.
Sadly, this is exactly why elected U.S. Congressional Republicans are 100% against it, even though many Republican mayors support it and 70% of all voters support it.
Senate Democrats conceded, for example, cuts to the weekly unemployment insurance supplements to try to get Republicans on board. Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia was cuddling up to Republican Senator Rob Portman’s idea to “cut enhanced federal unemployment benefits off earlier than most Democrats want,” as Senate Democrats seek to find consensus with the entire Republican Party and at least two of their own members.
Potentially good news is reported by Heather Long during the ongoing negotiations, “Sen Dems say they have reached an agreement to extend enhanced unemployment through SEPTEMBER at $300/week. The deal would also make $10,200 of unemployment aid NON-TAXABLE, a huge relief to millions facing surprise tax burdens.”
As we witnessed during Obama years, elected Republicans deliberately and actively work to undermine the U.S. when they are not in power.
Michael Grunwald reported in his (excellent) book “The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era,” on “the Republican plot to obstruct President Obama before he even took office, including secret meetings led by House GOP whip Eric Cantor (in December 2008) and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (in early January 2009) in which they laid out their daring (though cynical and political) no-honeymoon strategy of all-out resistance to a popular President-elect during an economic emergency.
‘If he was for it,’ former Ohio Senator George Voinovich explained, ‘we had to be against it.’”
In 2009, it wasn’t an ideological objection, it was a strategy of obstruction – EVEN WHEN IT HURT THE COUNTRY AND HER PEOPLE. And the same holds true now. Their objections centered – as they claim to now, as yet another Democrat tries to stem the damage from the last Republican president – around “spending” and “pork.”
See if this excerpt from Grunwald rings a bell: “Boehner turned to the $815 billion stimulus bill that House Democrats had just unveiled. Boehner complained that it would spend too much, too late, on too many Democratic goodies. He urged his members to trash it on cable, on YouTube, on the House floor: ‘It’s another run-of-the-mill, undisciplined, cumbersome, wasteful Washington spending bill … I hope everyone here will join me in voting no!’”
Flash forward to today, and it’s: Republicans objecting to spending and Republicans opposing the House’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package because of two transportation projects that they say would have politically benefited Democrats leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
But guess what: Those projects are no longer in the bill and as PBS points out, Republicans described the subway extension as “Speaker Pelosi’s pork subway project” even though it is located 50 miles away from her district.
They added, “The Trump administration boasted of its efforts to fund the rail project when it approved $125 million in federal matching dollars back in 2019.” Schumer reported that the bridge in New York being attributed to him was also part of Trump’s infrastructure push.
This same party didn’t even blink at blowing up the debt to give a multi-trillion-dollar tax cut that benefited primarily the wealthy and corporations, and yet they balk at protecting lives and helping the economy of their own country – the one several of them told us we should let our grandparents die as collateral damage to fuel, by the way.
While principles that change based on who is in power are nothing new, the Republican Party has taken it to lower depths than a democracy can sustain – and they do this with the backing of a well-funded (unlike the struggling liberal end of the spectrum) conservative media infrastructure committed to misleading epistemic closure that benefits the top 2% of our country and corporations.
Perhaps this is a good time to point out that when it comes to abortion, some Republicans now even argue against rape and incest as exceptions. “We understand that issues like rape and incest are difficult topics to tackle; nevertheless, it is our view that the value of human life is not determined by the circumstances of one’s conception or birth,” the Students for Life of America wrote in a draft provided to NPR in May of 2019, which praised an Alabama abortion law that made no exceptions other than a woman’s life.
“The value of human life is not determined by the circumstances of one’s conception or birth” – Hmmm. Where is this value now? Where is the value for a life that doesn’t allow Republicans to control women’s bodies? Where is this value for life now that 520,000 plus have died a brutal, horrific and lonely death due to Covid-19.
Here we are, with Republicans now having their last objections removed by the Senate Parliamentarian, and they are still a block NO, and now deliberately wasting time and making demands to give the people and economy less help, with little hope that they would even entertain the incredible idea of saving lives, of doing the right, best thing for their constituents, lest it make the Democrats look good for wanting to help people.
This is the party with whom many in the media urge Democrats to come to a “bipartisan” agreement. There is nothing bipartisan about a no vote on a bill that is supported by bipartisan citizens.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.