House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was apparently forced to abandon one of the Democrats’ biggest priorities in the latest coronavirus relief bill.
The $900 billion package, passed by Congress this week, does not contain provisions that would have allowed the federal government to bail out state and local governments, something that Democrats had been pushing for as negotiations dragged on through the summer.
No bailout for governments
House Democrats had originally sought to include $1 trillion in aid for state and local governments, but Republican leaders opposed the plan, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) describing it as a “blue-state bailout.”
In the end, it appears that McConnell outmaneuvered Pelosi.
“We stopped them from bailing out the cities and the states through the front door, and this weekend, thanks to Senator Toomey and Senator McConnell, we stopped them from doing it through the backdoor of the Federal Reserve lending programs,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said Monday on “Fox & Friends,” according to Breitbart.
Increased liability protections also dropped
However, Republicans also failed on one of their biggest priorities. Increased lability protections for businesses against coronavirus lawsuits did not make it into the final version of the package.
Trying to ease the sting, McConnell pledged that those protections will be included in a future relief bill — if one is passed.
President Donald Trump has until December 28th to sign the bill, and the White House has already confirmed that he will.
Long overdue action
Democrats in the House delayed coronavirus relief for months before finally coming to an agreement after the election.
“It’s noteworthy that at the end they finally gave us what we could have agreed to back in July,” McConnell said Monday. “I think what held it up was they did not want to do anything before the presidential election. I think they felt that would disadvantage the president.”
While Democrats will be stopped from bailing out cities and states for their bad decisions, Americans will receive $600 checks and $284 billion in small business relief to combat the pandemic and the economic fallout from the resulting lockdowns.
But one has to wonder if this relief is coming too late. Thousands have lost their jobs and small businesses are going underwater in droves. Time will tell how much of an impact this bill will truly have.