Faux Republican Deficit Hawks Want To Sabotage Biden And America
As I’ve discussed here numerous times, the Republicans simply don’t believe in the right of the Democratic Party to govern. That unpatriotic belief has manifested itself in the GOP efforts to sabotage the last two Democratic Presidents.
In 1993, not one Republican voted for President Clinton’s budget that led to an economic boom and budget surplus during his presidency. Republican obstruction was worse during the Obama Administration. The Republicans in Congress settled on a strategy of all out obstruction in late 2008 before President Obama was even inaugurated. Then Vice President Joe Biden reported that during the transition, several GOP Senators privately told him that GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell had given them orders that there was to be no cooperation with the incoming administration — because McConnell had decided that “we can’t let you succeed.”
Unfortunately, this pattern of sabotage of the American people has carried over to the upcoming Biden presidency. Back in May, the House Democrats passed the HEROES Act which contained $3 trillion in economic relief for the suffering American people. Since then, Mitch McConnell and the Senate GOP blocked additional relief for the American people for over six months due to faux deficit “concerns.” At last, McConnell relented and has allowed the passage of a new stimulus bill due to GOP fears that they could lose the Senate elections in Georgia.
In the Senate, McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans threw a last minute monkey wrench into the negotiations over the $900 billion economic stimulus package. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) demanded that any bill contain a provision to permanently shut down the emergency Federal Reserve lending programs created earlier this year by the CARES Act, including the ones for business, as well as struggling state and local governments.
Toomey’s extreme amendment would have crippled the Fed’s ability to prevent another financial crisis like the one we had in 2008–09 and nearly had in March 2020. In addition, starving state and local governments of funds would lead to hundreds of thousands of layoffs of civil servants. This would have defunded the police and significantly reduced consumer spending power — thus slowing down the economy.
There was never a legitimate or rational policy reason for the GOP effort to knee cap the Federal Reserve — it was an act of pure sabotage. As it stands, the Senate Republicans backed down on their demand to cripple the Federal Reserve. In any event, the bill doesn’t contain a rescue package for state and local governments due to McConnell’s demand for a liability shield for businesses. What this means is that in the absence of another rescue package, we will soon see a wave of layoffs by state and local governments.
And that’s not all. Multi-millionaire Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) on two occasions on Friday, killed a bi-partisan bill that would provide a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks for those who earn $75,000 or less. Johnson rationalized his obstruction by raising faux deficit concerns and argued that the country needs more tax cuts for the rich and the deregulation of big business. You can’t make this stuff up.
The Republicans’ new found “concerns” about the deficit are both hyper-partisan and deeply hypocritical. The likes of McConnell, Johnson, Fischer and Sasse didn’t voice any deficit concerns when they voted in 2017 to add $2 trillion to the national debt for the failed tax cut that conferred 83% of the benefits on the top 1%.
As a consequence of the Senate Republicans’ nihilistic obstruction, the Democrats in Congress had no choice but to settle for a much less generous package. According to CNN, the new relief bill included “$300 per week in jobless benefits, direct payments of $600 for individuals, $330 billion for small business loans, more than $80 billion for schools, and billions for vaccine distribution.”
According to a tweet from Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT): “If Democrats controlled the Senate: — the cash payments would be $1200 not $600 — there would be $175 billion, not $25 billion, to help people pay the rent — there would be flexible money for states and cities and bonus checks for frontline workers.” And to add insult to injury, Trump and the GOP inserted into the bill a tax break for corporate meal expenses. This has been described by critics as the “three-martini lunch” deduction.
Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) said it best: “Mitch McConnell is willing to let people starve. He’s willing to let people get evicted. He’s willing to let states allow COVID cases to get out of control and for hospitals to be overrun. He is willing to do all of those things.” Ocasio-Cortez added that Democrats need to push back against “this ‘both sides’ bullshit.”
“Ron Johnson just blocked $1,200 checks,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We got to get out there and we need to say, Republicans have blocked $400 checks. Republicans have blocked retroactive benefits. Republicans are blocking teacher salaries, school funding, hospital funding, subway systems, mass transit ― straight up.”
We Democrats need to call out this Republican sabotage. The Republicans like to falsely claim that they are the superior patriots and wrap themselves in the flag. Unfortunately, this belief is simply false. The Republicans have sold their souls to a president* who is strangely deferential to the Russians and a Senate leader who revels in hurting the American people in a cynical attempt to regain power.
After January 20, we must relentlessly target Mitch McConnell and his allies in the Senate. He is a loathsome individual who is deeply unpopular. We simply can’t allow McConnell and his minions to let the country burn in their maniacal quest for power. Not let’s drive the message home early and often!