Senate Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi successfully blocked swift passage of a coronavirus rescue package bill, but they did not get much from Republicans in return.
In the days following the negotiations, Republicans repeatedly swatted down additions to the bill proposed by Schumer, Pelosi, and Senate Democrats, despite their best efforts to deliver for select special interests.
Senate Democrats made a number of demands in the bill outside of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s wish-list bill that was 1,400 pages long, with no chances of getting passed.
“We weren’t going to give in to their demands,” a senior Republican leadership aide told Breitbart News. “This was not the time or the place, this was an emergency.”
Although Republicans ultimately allowed $75 million for public television and radio, $150 million for the Arts and Humanities, and $25 million for the Kennedy Center, several Democrat proposals were blocked.
Here are the top six items that Senate Republicans kept out of the bill, despite political pressure from the Democrats:
- Money for Planned Parenthood: Senate Democrats wanted to bail out the abortion industry by allowing rescue funds for Planned Parenthood, one of their biggest non-profit allies. But Senate Republicans included language in the bill that ensured Planned Parenthood and other non-profits were not eligible. Democrats fought hard to remove the language but were met with a hard no. The bill also included language from the Hyde Amendment, ensuring that taxpayer funds would not directly pay for abortions.
- Green New Deal: Senate Democrats felt that the emergency spending bill was an opportunity to slip in tax breaks to benefit wind and solar energy. Senate Republicans refused, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hoisted their efforts to shoehorn green agenda interests as proof that Democrats were not serious about helping the country, as they voted to block the legislation.
- No Strings Funding for States: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to make sure that the billions of dollars sent to states could be used to fill holes in their budgets, especially in blue states that were already in debt. Senate Republicans, however, made sure that the emergency funding granted to states be used for coronavirus-related expenses. The rule vexed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and other governors who wanted billions more funding with no strings attached.
- Federal Mandates for Early and Mail Voting: Congressional Democrats believed they could use the coronavirus crisis to create new federal mandates to override state election laws, forcing every state to develop early voting and elections through mail. Funding was ultimately sent to state election officials, but only for ways to protect voters from coronavirus.
- Postal Service Bailout: Democrats believed that the coronavirus crisis could be used to rescue the postal service, which continues to suffer massive deficits. Democrats wanted $20 billion in funding with no strings attached, but Senate Republicans replaced it with a loan that required them to spend it on the effects of the coronavirus.
- DHS Funding Restrictions: The bill includes transfer authorities that allows $289 million to be transferred to the Department of Homeland Security, but Democrats wanted some strings attached to the funding regarding ICE and immigration enforcement. The effort failed.
Ultimately, Senate Democrats successfully achieved big increases in unemployment insurance payments, something that even drew protests from select Senate Republicans. But Republicans expressed satisfaction that the president and McConnell retained the proposal to send direct checks to the American people, which was something that many Democrats opposed.
“If Chuck Schumer had his way, he would have eliminated the direct checks,” one Senate Republican aide told Breitbart News.