The first day following the release of Mitch McConnell's HEALS Act (what he's calling coronavirus "relief" in the form of a kick in the teeth to America's workers, teachers, students, unemployed people, etc.) did not go well for the Grim Reaper. First, McConnell was stunned by the public backlash to the money included for a new FBI building Trump wants for his own grifting reasons. McConnell even discovered that all the military spending that was included in the bill, spending that has absolutely nothing to do with the pandemic, was put there to restore the hundreds of millions of dollars Trump siphoned off of defense spending under his emergency declaration to build his border wall. That includes $260 million for the Navy’s Expeditionary Fast Transport ship. Not at all coincidentally, that ship is built by a company based in Alabama, home state of Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, who put that money into the bill. Chances of that, or any of the defense spending, flying with Democrats? Slim to none.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer officially dismissed the proposal in a joint statement. “Two and a half months after Democrats delivered the solutions to defeating the virus and safely reopening the country in The Heroes Act, the Senate GOP has now come back with a weak, piecemeal proposal that will only prolong the suffering for millions of workers and families across America,“ they wrote. “The Senate GOP proposal is a sad statement of their values, selling out struggling families at the kitchen table in order to enrich the corporate interests at the boardroom table.“
They detail all those decisions in the Republican bill: cutting the UI by $400/week, "hurtling toward completely unworkable bureaucracy that will overwhelm already chaotic unemployment offices and risk benefits never going out at all"; the business meal tax deduction for wealth corporations while refusing to increase food assistance "for families struggling to keep food on the table"; refusing to extend the eviction moratorium or provide financial assistance for people to stay housed; no additional state and local funding for government that are laying off "health workers, first responders, teachers, food, transit and sanitation workers and other frontline heroes" because of revenue shortfalls; a liability immunity for corporations and no OSHA protections to make sure workers are safe; the effort to "bully schools to reopen without the resources to reopen safely, tying urgently-needed funding to reopening instead of safety and failing to provide adequate resources"; no help for victims of domestic violence; no election funding or Postal Service funding to make sure the November election can be pulled off; the complete lack of "a strategic and well-funded, science-based testing plan," while also abandoning communities of color, "with no assistance for the Black and other minority communities who are being disproportionately devastated by COVID-19." All of these issues are addressed in the Democrats' HEROES Act, which passed the House two and a half months ago, and which McConnell has been ignoring since.
Here's the important part of all that: McConnell can't pass this bill in the Senate. Even though he has 53 Republicans, there are at least half a dozen who don't want anything to do with it. Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana is opposed to the plan for UI. Sen. Pat Toomey doesn't want direct payments. Others have plenty of complaints.
McConnell has wasted more than two months already refusing to counter the HEROES Act. Now he's determined to waste even more time, offering up this useless bill that he knew Democrats wouldn't accept and that he can't even get Republican majority support for, while people are falling off of financial cliffs. If it weren't so deadly, it would be funny.