On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell targeted Democrats for stonewalling getting pandemic relief to Americans, charging, “When the Speaker and the Democratic leaders say they won’t allow another dime for testing, treatments or vaccines unless they can bring home a massive tax cut for millionaires in San Francisco and New York City, they’re playing hardball against our nation’s ability to detect and fight the virus.”
McConnell began by slamming the mainstream media: “There’s been a lot of focus lately on the drama here in Washington. For weeks now, as leading Democrats have blocked more pandemic relief over unrelated liberal demands, the press has covered their stonewalling like any ordinary political stand-off. Who talked to whom? Who said what in which meeting? What new metaphor did Speaker Pelosi use today to explain she was blocking progress?”
“But it does the nation a disservice to act like the last several weeks were just another routine political stand-off,” he continued, “It does struggling families and laid-off workers and stressed-out school principals and health-care professionals a disservice to act like this is more Washington gridlock.”
Then McConnell ripped the praise the media has heaped on Democrats for playing “hardball”:
The New York Times proclaimed a few days ago that Speaker Pelosi’s “playing hardball on coronavirus relief.” Well, that’s one way to put it; you can say it’s playing hardball to refuse any outcome for the country; you can say it’s playing hardball to insist on non-COVID-related policy changes that the Speaker and the Democratic leadership know would never pass the Senate or be signed into law by the president. But if Democrats are playing hardball their opponents aren’t us Republicans, not really. They’re playing hardball against kids, workers, and vulnerable Americans who need help. They’re playing hardball against our medical system.
“When the Speaker and the Democratic leaders say they won’t allow another dime for testing, treatments or vaccines unless they can bring home a massive tax cut for millionaires in San Francisco and New York City, they’re playing hardball against our nation’s ability to detect and fight the virus,” he commented. “They’re playing hardball against science.”
“When the Speaker and the Democratic leaders say they will not allow another cent for schools to reopen, or for job-saving PPP unless they get a trillion dollars for a state and local slush fund that’s completely out of proportion with actual needs, they’re playing hardball against children and parents,” McConnell charged. “When the Speaker and the Democratic leaders say they will not allow any resolution on any issue unless Democrats can pay people more not to work, they’re playing hardball against millions of households that ought to get another stimulus check and against the ability of jobless people to get any federal benefit whatsoever.”
“There are life and death matters at stake; the Democrats have treated this historic national crisis as a political game,” McConnell pointed out. “Just look at the red lines the Democrat leaders have drawn around these negotiations. Imagine sitting down with a working family at their kitchen table and examining that these are the kinds of issues over which the Speaker and the Democratic leader are refusing to let them have relief. First, as I mentioned, the Democratic leader has made clear he doesn’t want any pandemic relief unless it carries a special state and local tax carve-out for high earners in places like New York. Just imagine these Democratic leaders from New York and San Francisco going anywhere in the middle of the country and telling a working family of four earning $40,000a year that they aren’t getting a relief check that could increase their income by 10% until millionaires in Manhattan get a tax cut …”
He added, “Here’s another one of those dead-on-arrival demands: Democrats insist that working families, small businesses and health-care providers will not get any more help until a new trillion-dollar slush fund for poorly managed states tags along.”
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