At a press conference on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went out of her way to avoid a CNN reporter who had one simple question: Why is it okay for Democrats to accept a $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package now when they rejected a much larger offer from the Senate earlier this year? This would seem like a sensible, reasonable question to answer, but Pelosi wanted none of it.
“Pelosi wouldn’t answer my question about why the $900 billion deal is more acceptable to her than the $1.8 trillion offer Mnuchin made to her this fall,” CNN’s Manu Raju said. “Pelosi wouldn’t call on me at the press conference, which is becoming a pattern, even though just five reporters were there. She left the press conference as I asked her the question. And she ignored my question in the hallway as well.
“Asked again in the hallways why this proposal is more acceptable than the Mnuchin plan, Pelosi didn’t respond,” he continued. “But Schumer, who was walking with her in the hallway, said: ‘Ask Mitch McConnell.’ It’s true that McConnell and Senate Republicans objected to Mnuchin’s $1.8 trillion plan, but so did Pelosi, who said in October: ‘This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back.’”
On Sunday, McConnell announced that he’d reached a deal with congressional leaders that will finally secure relief funds for Americans who have been struggling under the weight of the COVID economy. While he acknowledged that Democrats had a hand in shaping the final bill, he expressed frustration about the negotiations, claiming that bipartisan legislation could have been passed months ago.
“These matters could have been settled long ago,” McConnell said. “So why did it take all this time? We know why. We have heard Democrats say openly that they were not willing to deal all summer and fall, but are willing now, because they now have a President-elect of their own political party. That’s not my accusation … that’s their admission.
“So, look, I’m glad we’ve gotten this done,” he continued. “My Democratic colleagues and I have had good discussions this past week. Both parties have a lot to be proud of. But I really regret that some on the Democratic side decided that partisan presidential politics were more important than getting urgent and noncontroversial relief out the door much, much sooner — to families who have needed this help badly. The progress of this past week could have happened in July, or in August, or in September, or in October. Senate Republicans were advocating for a package just like this one, all along, in real time. I just wish our partners on the other side had put political calculations aside and worked with us to make this happen a long time ago.”
Of course, as McConnell well knows, wishing for Democrats to do the right thing is among the more frivolous activities one can engage in.