House votes to approve $2,000 checks – but McConnell shoots it down in the Senate…for a good reason (op-ed)

WASHINGTON, DC- Last week, Congressional Republicans refused to give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unanimous consent on an increase in the COVID relief bill, complaining that the bill, which was tied to the omnibus spending package, had way too much wasteful spending attached to it.

While Congress continued to get paid and yet continue to kick the can down the road on helping the American people, it was made official on Christmas Eve that no COVID-19 stimulus money to put a band-aid on the bleeding was forthcoming anytime soon, according to the New York Post.

A new resolution to raise the relief amount from $600 to $2,000 was passed by the House on Monday. However on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spurned an attempt by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) for unanimous consent to push the measure through.

You may recall that President Trump slammed the relief bill that was passed by the House and Senate last week, which would have provided a whopping $600 to everyone over the age of 18 in the country.

Trump called the amount obscene and instead is pushing for $2,000. That came with a caveat however and that is that Congress go through the omnibus spending bill attached to it and remove all of the pork barrel projects and spending from it.

Last Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) attempted to push through the additional funds through unanimous consent, however without removal of the hundreds of billions of dollars in excess funds directed toward countries such as Burma, Sudan, Jordan and Egypt. The motion was refused because House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) refused consent.

McCarthy, in a letter sent to Pelosi Wednesday night accused her of having “selective hearing” of the president’s objections to the bill, and instead asked for unanimous consent for the House to reconsider the hundreds of billions in foreign aid that was included in the original bill which was approved on Monday.

“House Democrats appear to be suffering from selective hearing,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to House Republicans on Wednesday.

“They have conveniently ignored the concerns expressed by the President and shared by our constituents, that we ought to reexamine how our tax dollars are spent overseas while so many of our neighbors at home are struggling to make ends meet.

“Republicans will offer a unanimous consent request to revisit the State and Foreign Operations title of the Omnibus so that we can fully address the concerns at hand,” McCarthy wrote. “It will be up to Speaker Pelosi to decide if she wants to act on behalf of the American people.”

Pelosi refused, resulting in that request being blocked.

A majority of the legislators were absent from Washington, having gone to their home districts for the Christmas holiday. In the House, Pelosi’s request for unanimous consent was presented by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), while McCarthy’s counteroffer was presented by Rep. Rob Whitman (R-VA) on his behalf.

Due to failure to reach an agreement, around 12 million Americans were expected to lose unemployment benefits this past weekend.

That was however when President Trump stepped in, agreeing to sign the bill with the caveat that he would invoke the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, where he would mark up or “red line” the bill and send it back to the House for rescission. As expected, that was defeated by the Democrat controlled House.

Last Tuesday, Trump refused to sign the $2.3 trillion combined COVID-19 relief and omnibus spending bills, complaining that the $600 payment was inadequate for Americans put in the poorhouse by COVID-19 executive orders which have closed hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country.

Trump also slammed legislators for their refusal to implement specific relief for restaurants, which have been especially hard-hit during the pandemic. He likewise called out the wasteful spending contained within the omnibus spending bill.

The bill would have provided a $300 federal subsidy for unemployment benefits, as well as offering $284 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans to small businesses.

Unanimous consent is often used to deal with bills which appear to have bipartisan support, but all it takes is just one member to object and the bill must be brought before the full House for a vote.

That happened last March, when Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), also a libertarian, forced House members to return to Washington, DC in order to vote for the $2 trillion CARES Act, arguing that such bills should not be allowed to pass by unanimous consent.

That cast Massie as somewhat of a pariah in Congress, even amongst members of his own party, with one Democrat yelling across the House floor when Massie objected, “F**k you!” Class act, those Congressmen.

On Tuesday, McConnell blocked unanimous passage of the $2000 bill, which was passed in the House on Monday with 44 Republican votes.

Meanwhile, the New York Post said that McConnell has scheduled a Wednesday vote to override the president’s veto of the $740 billion defense appropriations bill.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has vowed to filibuster that vote unless McConnell schedules the vote on the $2,000 checks. Sanders would need to convince other Democrats to join him. If 60 senators vote to end debate, the vote on the override can occur.

While a number of Republican senators are in favor of the $2,000 checks, McConnell is seeking to tie the checks into working on election integrity, as well as reigning in the out-of-control tech companies.

Democrats have suddenly found a sense of urgency in passing additional relief, after holding out for months until after the presidential election in order to get needed money to the American people, as well as providing relief to small businesses decimated by the primarily Democrat governor-mandated shutdowns.

Opponents of the additional money are concerned about the effect on the national debt, which would increase by an additional $463 billion they say.

One Democratic House member who voted against the package, Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon complained that “it is clearly a last-minute political maneuver by the president and extremists on both sides of the political spectrum who have been largely absent during months of very hard negotiations.

Under the proposal, Americans who earn more than $95,000 annually or couples earning more than $190,000 would get nothing under either the $600 or $2000 scenarios.

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LET Unity

We recently reported on Republican senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) slamming the bill. For more on that, we invite you to: 

DIG DEEPER

WASHINGTON, DC- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was one of only a handful of senators who voted against the so-called $900 billion coronavirus “stimulus” which was tied into an omnibus spending bill that brought the total price to over $2 trillion.

This past Wednesday on Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Paul doubled down on his criticism of the behemoth bill.

 

Two days prior, Paul spoke on the Senate floor and slammed the bill as a “spending monstrosity” while telling fellow Republicans they were “no better” than the socialist Democrats supporting the bill.

On Wednesday, Paul called the bill “a bunch of socialist spending,” while adding that both Republicans and Democrats “are bankrupting” the United States, Breitbart reported.

“The problem is if we were to get more money to Americans we would add it on top,” Paul said.

“If it were either-or, it would be a little bit different situation, but from experience in Washington, these jokers never replace spending. I’ve asked for it all along.

“Like, I’ve asked look if you want to build infrastructure in our country, quit spending $50 billion a year on infrastructure in Afghanistan, but I never get them to bite. They’ll add it on, but they’ll never to the responsible thing and exchange wasteful spending for useful spending.”

Paul continued:

“[T]hat bill yesterday was a bunch of socialist spending, and if you voted for it you’re no better than the Democrats. And so, that’s the problem we have. People need to get involved in primaries and elect better people, but the people in Washington are bankrupting us—both parties.”

Meanwhile, Breitbart reports that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also blasted the bill, referring to it as a “legislative monstrosity” which included what he called $1.4 trillion in “wasteful end-of year-spending” and which he said contained “countless pet projects,” which Cruz said advanced the interests of the “radical left” and “swamp lobbyists.”

On Monday, the Texas senator released a statement in which he complained that Congress attached $900 billion in coronavirus relief to the $1.4 trillion “legislative monstrosity,” which he said will “escape close scrutiny because three times, congressional Democrats rejected good faith efforts to pass targeted relief.”

Cruz said that he would have supported a targeted bill that focused “solely” on reopening the economy and putting Americans back to work.

“For example, the final COVID-19 package rejects the Democrats’ misguided attempts to bail out blue states’ underfunded pension plans and replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program—which will go a long way in helping small businesses keep their doors open and employees on the payroll,” Cruz said, while adding that it also included “funding for vaccine procurement and distribution and will support states in their efforts to expand testing.”

Cruz continued that, “Unfortunately, this behemoth did not end there,” while noting the American people are already facing over $27 trillion in debt.

Cruz slammed the bill for its failure to address any “meaningful spending cuts,” while instead he said, advanced the “interests of the radical left, special interests, and swamp lobbyists, with funding going towards expanding authority for more H-2B visas for foreign workers.

He also noted that while a near record number of Americans remain unemployed, the legislation laid the ground work for Democrats to implement the ‘Green New Deal’ by claiming a ‘need’ to meet the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable or zero-emission energy sources.”

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Cruz continued adding that Democrats “exploited the need for relief to advance their political agenda instead of working on legislation that puts our nation on the path to recovery.”

While the legislation passed with veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate, four other Republican senators besides Cruz and Paul voted against the bill—Sen. Rick Scott (FL), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Mike Lee (UT) and Ron Johnson (WI).

Breitbart reported that in his Monday speech, Paul raked his fellow Republicans over the coals.

“And yet if free money were the answer, if money really grew on trees, why not give more free money? Why not give it out all the time? Why stop at $600 per person? Why not $1,000? Why not $2,000?

He continued:

“Maybe these new free money Republicans should join the everybody-gets-a-guaranteed-income caucus. Whey not $20,000 a year for everybody? Why not $30,000? If we can print up money with impunity, why not do it?” he asked.

“The treasury can just keep printing the money. That is, until someone points out that the emperor has no clothes and that the dollar no longer has value,” Paul added.

Paul also accused his fellow legislators of encouraging draconian lockdowns by handing money to states with leaders who were implementing rules which he called “arbitrary and unscientific.”

“To so-called conservatives who are quick to call out the socialism of Democrats, if you vote for this spending monstrosity, you are no better.

“When you vote to pass out free money, you lose your soul and you abandon forever any semblance of moral or fiscal integrity,” he continued while saying the comparison between Democrats and Republicans was “less Adam Smith versus Marx and more Marx versus Engels.”

In explaining the dire straits the country’s fiscal situation now lies in, Paul noted that last year, the country brought in $3.3 trillion while spending $6.6 trillion.

“Today’s money is gone, so Congress is spending tomorrow’s money,” noting that the current national debt stands at a staggering $27 trillion.

“Spend all this money and leave the future to figure itself out,” Paul added.

He noted that some governors are picking winners and losers while thousands of family businesses are being destroyed.

“The need for help is real…but it’s clear that government has worsened the economic damage and acted as the biggest obstacle to economic recovery,” Paul added.

The outlay didn’t appear to be enough for theoretical president-elect Joe Biden, who in a tweet applauded the relief bill but promised that “help is on the way.”

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Author: Pat Droney

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