The optics of Democrats choosing to oppose a Republican-sponsored bill to address the economic fallout stemming from the coronavirus crisis are hard to explain, at first look.
But after a more nuanced examination of what the bill entailed, it’s clear that there were real problems within it — including corporate handouts without oversight, and lackluster protections for working families.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted about those worries on Sunday evening, explaining his party’s rationale for opposing the bill:
“We voted no on the McConnell-GOP bill because among other problems it includes huge bailouts without protections for people and workers and without accountability, and because it shortchanges our hospitals and healthcare workers who need our help,” Schumer explained. “These changes need to be made.”
In response to those concerns, Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, issued out a tweet of his own, writing plainly, “Blah blah blah.”
Blah blah blah https://t.co/zkJ1fsKMGc
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) March 23, 2020
Republicans have tried to suggest Democrats are playing politics with the necessary response to the economic difficulties that are fast becoming realities for millions of Americans across the country, as COVID-19 spreads and forces more communities and states to shutter down.
But the concerns by Democratic leaders are real. As former Vice President Joe Biden noted in a video message on Monday, half a trillion dollars in corporate loans could be handed out to companies across the country, without guarantees that those businesses keep people employed, nor with much oversight from Congress existing at all. In the end, it’s the discretion of the Trump administration that dictates who receives (and who doesn’t) bailouts for the crisis.
“President Trump and Mitch McConnell are trying to put a corporate bailout ahead of millions of families,” Biden explained in his video speech from his Delaware home.
The bill that was voted on over the weekend, and which failed in the Senate, was authored solely by Republicans, without input whatsoever from Democrats, unlike the House-sponsored bill that was put together through a cooperative agreement between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, among others.
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