On Monday, The New York Times editorial board raked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) over the coals for blowing up days of work towards a bipartisan relief bill for coronavirus.
“Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky failed to do his job this weekend. As the economy spiraled downward, Mr. McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said he would produce a bipartisan bailout bill authorizing an infusion of desperately needed aid,” wrote the board. “Instead, Mr. McConnell emerged on Sunday evening with a bill that would provide a lot of help for corporate executives and shareholders, and not nearly enough for American workers. It would let the Treasury Department hand out hundreds of billions of dollars to corporations — potentially including businesses owned by President Trump — without requiring a binding commitment to preserve jobs and wages. And the bailouts could remain secret for six months.”
“Senate Democrats, refusing to play along, blocked the bill in a procedural vote on Sunday night and again on Monday afternoon,” continued the board. “But responsibility for the deadlock rests squarely on Mr. McConnell’s shoulders.”
As the board noted, the GOP proposal “includes a number of critical elements that enjoy broad support, including a $350 billion rescue fund for small business and a plan to send cash, totaling $250 billion, to most households.” However, “the urgency of the moment does not justify the egregious misuse of public resources.”
“The bill would create a $500 billion bailout fund for corporations,” wrote the board. “The Treasury undoubtedly needs resources and flexibility to confront the crisis. But it would be unpardonable folly for Congress to grant too much latitude to an administration that has repeatedly proved itself to be a careless steward of public resources. To take just one example, the bill would let the Treasury bail out hotels owned by Mr. Trump on whatever terms his administration might care to dictate — and Mr. Trump refused on Sunday night to pledge that he would refrain from taking any federal aid.”
“Senate Democrats want more from Republicans in other areas, too,” wrote the board. “They are pushing to deliver more funding for health care, and for state and local governments, and to expand unemployment benefits. These are worthy goals that deserve bipartisan support. Bringing the spread of the coronavirus under control remains the single best way to limit damage to the economy, and health care providers and local governments are on the front lines and running low on money. The need extends beyond public health: The crisis threatens the viability of critical public services, including mass transportation systems. And expanding benefits for unemployed workers would provide aid to those who need it most.”
“Republicans can quickly resolve this standoff by accepting the necessary changes to protect the public interest,” wrote the board. “Boeing, the major airlines and other companies clamoring for help simply do not need federal assistance with the same urgency as small businesses and individual workers do … People are losing their jobs, and their businesses, with every passing day. It is time to act.”
You can read more here.