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Senate Democrats Decry Mitch McConnell’s $161 Million Giveaway to Dying Coal Industry as Americans Starve

Buried within the latest coronavirus relief package unveiled by Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday is a gargantuan, $161 million taxpayer-funded giveaway to the struggling coal industry, which has been in steady decline as renewables become more popular among American consumers.

McConnell pitched the $300 billion package as “a targeted proposal that focuses on several of the most urgent aspects of this crisis, the issues where bipartisanship should be especially possible.”

Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images

This is less than 1/3 of what Republicans in the upper chamber were promulgating before they absconded for their August recess (they still got paid – by taxpayers), having allowed the $600 per week Pandemic Unemployment Assistance lifeline to expire on July 31 with nothing to replace it.

McConnell’s latest bill does extend the PUA through December 27, but offers only a paltry $300 per week.

After enormous blowback from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), other leading Democrats on the Hill have joined in excoriating McConnell for prioritizing a dirty, dying industry over the well-being of struggling Americans.

“This new emaciated Republican COVID proposal fails to meet the needs of the American people. The truth is: If you wanted to draft a bill that was certain to fail, this is it,” Schumer tweeted Tuesday evening. “This move by Senator McConnell is one of the cynical things I have ever seen in politics.”

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who ended his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in April, called McConnell’s proposal “pathetic,” given the economic catastrophe unfolding among working Americans and an acclerating environmental crisis.

“If we can afford to give a $1 trillion tax break to the top 1% and large corporations and $740 billion to the Pentagon, please don’t tell me we cannot afford to provide $2,000 a month to the working class, $600 a week to unemployed workers and expand Medicare to all,” Sanders wrote on Twitter.

“How pathetic,” Sanders later added. “While Senate Republicans tell us we can’t afford to give $2,000 a month to the working class during the economic crisis, the COVID-19 “relief” bill they just released provides $161 million in corporate welfare to the coal industry during a climate emergency.”

Public Citizen, an advocacy group for responsible corporate citizenship, also read McConnell the riot act over hid callous indifference to the plight of his follow Americans.

“Imagine watching your citizens plead for relief from an economically devastating pandemic and thinking: “Quick! We must grant businesses immunity from lawsuits related to the virus!” This is Mitch McConnell’s COVID bill,” the group tweeted.

Vote them all out.



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