Robin Smith / Sep. 21, 2020

COVID Relief Stalls

Democrats demand more coronavirus relief but obstruct every compromise.

Despite the importance of natural disasters, COVID, and now the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, there is still a need for a spending bill to prevent a government shutdown on September 30.

The almost schizophrenic talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump’s key negotiators — Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows — have gone from a stalemate on a $2 trillion spending bill on COVID to a stopgap spending bill that was rejected by Pelosi because of $30 billion for farmers to a compromise for $2 billion more for child nutrition to … nothing at all.

Aides on both partisan sides anonymously confirmed that a deal had been reached on Friday afternoon after a Pelosi call with Mnuchin only to be abruptly reversed without explanation. (We know Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and the ensuring confirmation battle is the real reason.)

Meadows and Mnuchin were holding a tough line on Pelosi, who reduced her initial coronavirus relief bid of $3 trillion to “only” an additional $2 trillion. Whatever is spent will be added to the mountain of money already spent — around $3 trillion by Congress and the equivalent of an estimated $6 trillion by the Federal Reserve. Unemployment is rapidly falling as, at least in red states, much of the economy is coming back online, but the campaign clock is ticking. And this is the driving force for Trump and House members from both parties who have races they want to be home addressing instead of watching Pelosi and Mnuchin play policy ping-pong.

COVID emergency money is adding to the U.S. Debt Clock’s estimation of almost $27 trillion in federal debt. Excluding unfunded liabilities like pensions, it’s of interest that the hands are out primarily from blue states and cities whose economies remain essentially closed. Theirs is a never-ending quest for more taxpayer money.

By contrast, look at the decision made last week by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee ® when asked by Nashville Mayor John Cooper (D) for an additional $82.6 million from the Volunteer State’s coffers. “I must share my deep concern that, of the $93 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars spent to date by your administration, only $5.7 million has been budgeted for relief to businesses,” Lee responded. “This concern is heightened by the ongoing challenges ahead for Nashville business owners who have already endured some of the most restrictive limitations on commercial activity, as well as a recently enacted property tax increase.”

Times are difficult. The campaign clock ticks. But Americans deserve to keep their own money, not see the continued massive spending without accountability or results.

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