Nancy Pelosi decided to try to split and embarrass the Republicans by supporting Trump’s tardy $2,000 stimulus push, and by passing a bill including the payment with a bi-partisan majority.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joined the bill with one to repeal Section 230 of the telecommunications act (47 U.S.C. § 230) which protects social media companies, and to set up a fraud commission to investigate the non-existent voter fraud in the November 3, 2020 election. As a result, with Congress expiring on January 3, 2021, there is a zero chance of the House bill becoming law.
Nonetheless, the bill represents bad policy, giving large amounts of money ($8,000 for a family of four) to well-to-do individuals who don’t need it.
This money would be better spent extending and even raising the weekly amount of federal unemployment insurance support, and by funding the needs of state and local givernments.
Both the Washington Post and Republicans have made the point that it makes no sense to extend the aid to the wealthy. While McConnell’s argument, unsurprisingly, is deeply cynical, he is correct.
Editorial, “Why increasing the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 is a bad idea,” Washington Post, December 29, 2020 at (3:34 p.m. EST).
“McConnell says push by Democrats, Trump for $2,000 stimulus checks has ‘no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate’; The Senate leader said the measure would be too costly, would not be targeted toward needy and would help families that are living comfortably,” Washington Post, December 30, 2020 (6:36 p.m. EST).
Both he and the Washington Post are right on the merits of who the federal relief payments should go to.
The Democrats, by going for this cheap shot to embarrass the Republicans while implementing a bad policy, have given Georgians a strong reason to vote for the Republicans in the Senate run-off elections on January 5, 2021.
It is just one reason, and there are myriad other reasons to vote for Jon Ossoff and Rafael Warnock for Senator.
But, for the undecided voter of traditional Republican bent, the Democratic ploy may raise traditional concerns about Democratic spending.
On the other hand, both Loeffler and Perdue have come out in favor of the $2:000 checks.
Mayebe the Democrats” ploy won’t make any difference. Who’s paying attention to policy, anyway?
Still, to minimize the risk, what might be done, even at this late date?
It’s not clear anything can be done at this point to counter the risk occasioned by this mistake.
But it would make great sense to shift attention from the $2,000 relief payment to a plan to extend and increase federal enhanced unemployment benefits, and to fund state and local governments.
The Trenchant Observer