The editors of the Wall Street Journal are shocked, shocked to see the members of Congress putting politics above policy:
Congratulations to Mitch McConnell, who kept all but one of his GOP Senate majority together on Thursday to vote for a $500 billion virus relief bill. Senate Democrats filibustered the bill, though these are the same Democrats who say they’ll kill the filibuster if they run the Senate next year. Thursday’s filibuster exposes that Democratic spending demands are about exploiting Covid to bail out progressive states, not helping the public.
With states reopening and the economy recovering, there’s no great need for new Covid relief. Congress has already appropriated some $2.9 trillion, and hundreds of billions haven’t been spent. The GOP recognized this by seeking to repurpose $146 billion from the $2.2 trillion Cares Act that passed in March, and reduce the size of the backstop for Federal Reserve loans, loan guarantees and liquidity for the financial system.
The GOP bill still offered $257.7 billion more in loans and loan forgiveness for small business under the Paycheck Protection Program. Many small businesses continue to suffer under lockdowns and arguably need the lifeline. The GOP proposal at least required that applicants demonstrate losses, rather than the willy-nilly loan approvals of the Cares Act.
The bill also included liability protection from Covid-related lawsuits for hospitals, health-care workers, businesses, schools, colleges and universities, religious, philanthropic and other nonprofits, and local government agencies. The idea is to create federal causes of action for Covid suits that pre-empt conflicting state laws and protect those who follow safety standards in good faith.
Our guess is that Mrs. Pelosi is demanding such a high price because she wants the issue, not the bill. She figures her incumbents will win anyway and, next year, with Joe Biden as President, they can pass everything they want.
Different people would draw different conclusions from the present debate. No doubt yellow dog Democrats will take this as proof positive that Republicans are evil, hard-hearted people with no concern for suffering Americans. And ardent Republicans vice versa.
My suggestion is when contemplating any measure being debated by Congressional Republicans and Democrats, always assume that not only is politics the primary consideration, overwhelming policy, needs, or even ideology, it is the only consideration.