Where Are the Democrats?

Whatever you think of the gigantic bill that Senate Republicans and Democrats have negotiated to ameliorate the economic disaster caused by the Wuhan virus, the Democrats’ attempt to hold that bill hostage to a wish list of its own irrelevant policies–policies the Democrats have not been able to get passed on their own merits–is disgraceful. Yesterday the Democrats twice filibustered the coronavirus recovery bill. Tom Cotton took the Senate floor and excoriated them in refreshingly blunt language. It is ten minutes you won’t regret watching:

On behalf of the organization I run, I have signed on to this letter, which is directed to Congress:

We, the undersigned X organizations, on behalf of more than 250 million taxpayers and consumers across these United States, urge you in the strongest possible terms to reject any and all attempts to use the Coronavirus Pandemic response to pursue pet policy projects or agendas. The United States potentially faces the greatest economic challenge of our lifetimes. Now, more than ever, is the time for bipartisan action to provide urgent relief to the businesses and individuals affected by the shutdown of large parts of our economy. As a result, we strongly urge you to reject the fundamentally flawed radical ideological wish list unrelated to the pandemic presented in the “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act,” and instead urgently pass a desperately needed relief bill that puts American workers and businesses first.

Rather than focusing on targeted assistance to those who need it most, the “Take Responsibility Act” is a grab bag of handouts to special interest groups and an unrelated radical ideological wish list. Provisions such as same day voter enrollment, bailing out the beleaguered United States Postal Service, mandating emissions requirements for airlines, and funding “climate mitigation studies” have nothing to do with the crisis at hand, and in no way should be considered as part of this package. There is no rational basis for these types of provisions to be in any way, shape, or form considered even remotely appropriate in response to the pandemic, and they should be considered separately.

The same applies to provisions in the bill which are no more than payoffs to labor unions, from increasing collective bargaining powers to forcing union representatives on air carrier boards of directors. Some of the most disturbing payoff provisions, such as subsidies for “green energy” and student loan forgiveness, primarily benefit urban elite high income Americans at the expense of the working class who have been the hardest hit by this pandemic. It should go without saying that it is morally repulsive at the extreme to use this opportunity to provide handouts for the richest members of our society, while the poorest amongst us face a possibility of greater hardship than seen before in our lifetimes.

Many provisions of the bill are simply absurd, such as mandating that federal departments submit reports on increasing the use of “minority banks and minority credit unions to serve the financial needs of each department or agency” and empowering a newly-created agency to monitor companies to collect data on “employee demographics,” “supplier diversity,” “pay equity,” and “corporate board diversity.”

While some provisions may potentially have made a difference in bettering the current situation were they properly targeted, the poorly written and broad nature of this bill makes them completely inappropriate. The bill, for instance, requires that schools fund all WiFi for all students affected by online learning. To say that the federal taxpayer would now pay for the WiFi for all families is beyond absurd, given the vast majority of them already have and are able to afford WiFi.

American businesses need urgent assistance to stay afloat so they can rapidly rehire once this difficult period is over. The millions of Americans who lost their jobs in the last week (or are about to) need urgent support to make ends meet these coming weeks and months. It is simply unconscionable to pursue an agenda unrelated to this, as the “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act” does. Now is not the time to hold the American people hostage to pursue a policy agenda of pet projects completely unrelated to the looming economic disaster. We call on you to do the right thing, reject the “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act,” and pass legislation that the American people need and deserve. Millions of lives and livelihoods hang in the balance.

Let’s hope the Democrats pay the political price they so richly deserve for their disgraceful conduct.

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