House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday claimed President Donald Trump has taken a harder line against Communist China in an effort to divert attention from possible wrongdoing by his administration in response to the Wuhan virus pandemic.
“What the president is saying about China is interesting — it’s an interesting diversion,” Pelosi said in a press briefing on Capitol Hill.
Pelosi made the remark as she lashed out at President Trump and congressional Republicans, who oppose the House Democrats $3 trillion stimulus package. The 1,815-page Heroes Act bill includes various progressive provisions, as Breitbart News reported:
- $755 million for the government for Washington, DC. The bill would also allow the D.C. government to participate in the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity (MLF) to support additional lending to the city.
- $1 million for the National Science Foundation to study the spread of coronavirus-related “disinformation.”
- $10 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as well as $10 million fo the National Endowment for the Humanities.
- Eliminates limitations on the federal deduction for the state and local taxes (SALT). Republicans limited this deduction through the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The SALT deduction primarily benefits wealthy, largely Democrat states.
- Grants additional aid for State and local government bailouts. The bill contains $500 billion in funding for state government relief and $375 billion in aid to local governments. Senate Republicans such as Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have contended this will particularly aid fiscally irresponsible blue states such as California, New York, and Illinois to the detriment of more fiscally responsible states such as Texas and Florida.
- $25 million for migrant and seasonal farmworkers, including emergency support services through the Department of Labor.
As Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) pointed out, the bill has “70 appropriations in excess of a billion dollars each.”
“When you walk out of secret negotiations with an 1800 page, $3 trillion bill that thas no chance of becoming law, why is that portrayed as an accomplishment?” Norman asked, rhetorically.
Today's proposal by @SpeakerPelsoi has over 70 appropriations in excess of a billion dollars each.
When you walk out of secret negotiations with an 1800 page, $3 trillion bill that has no chance of becoming law, why is that portrayed as an accomplishment? pic.twitter.com/VzEm9tLS9t
— Rep. Ralph Norman (@RepRalphNorman) May 12, 2020
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has repeatedly expressed that the bill has no chance of passing the upper chamber.
McConnell singled out what he called “the cherry on top” — provisions helping legal marijuana businesses.
Hours earlier, McConnell called Pelosi’s package a “totally unserious effort” to address the coronavirus pandemic. He said Democrats had put out a “seasonal catalog of left-wing oddities and called it a coronavirus relief bill.”
Congress has approved nearly $3 trillion in recent weeks to address the country’s twin economic and health crises, including money for coronavirus testing.
Republicans have expressed worries about burgeoning budget deficits and said lawmakers should evaluate how the initial dollars are being spent before moving fresh legislation. They also want to see whether the economy begins to recover as some states begin easing restrictions that have kept many businesses shuttered.
Friday’s House vote will come as 36 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits since the virus hit the U.S. In addition, 1.4 million people in the U.S. have had confirmed cases of the virus and more than 85,000 have died.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.