For a short period of time, it appeared as if Democrats and Republicans were working together to address the looming economic catastrophe triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. To be sure, there were little blips, but in the main it appeared that everyone was in a mood to realistically determine what it would take to provide at least a short-term respite from the economic downturn.
Indeed, Democrats in the Senate, including Chuck Schumer, seemed ready, in the public interest, to quickly accept a Republican no-frills proposal with the expectation that Democrats in the House would go along as well.
That unfortunately didn’t happen.
Out of the progressive left came Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, ranting that aid to larger companies – which are important to the national economy as they provide many jobs and are in danger of going under – actually constitutes a “crony capitalist slush fund.” Fearing criticism from their left flank, Democrats bailed out and said they would come up with a plan of their own.
The House Democratic Majority Whip suddenly then declared, “This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision,” and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promptly came up with a new proposal that included items that Democrats have spent a generation trying to get passed into law – but have nothing at all to do with dealing with the economic crisis the country now faces.
Things like curbing greenhouse emissions, gender and racial quotas, increased wind and solar tax credits, funding for environmental studies groups, increased collective bargaining rights for unions, free Internet, funding for community newspapers, setting up minority-run banks, and gender pay equity suddenly appeared in the stimulus bill.
While it is always difficult to know for sure what is going on in the political back and forth, in this instance, where the Democrats have so blatantly gone off the reservation, it is not so hard to figure out.
Not only are these Democratic antics an abuse of the legislative process, they are also a cynical slap in the face to all Americans who are facing some really difficult times – as is their country.