The Senate was on track to move forward with emergency legislation to address the global health crisis and economic emergency the country is facing because of the coronavirus. The proposal would have given direct financial help to the American people, provided rapid relief for small businesses and their employees, taken significant steps to stabilize the economy and protect jobs, and support hospitals and health care professionals on the front lines.
Then Speaker Pelosi returned to Washington. The below timeline of the last week highlights how her and her allies insistence on a partisan and political approach has thrown a roadblock into the legislative process, and caused even more anxiety for millions of Americans during this unprecedented situation.
3/16: The House passes H.R. 6102 by unanimous consent w/ technical changes. This is “phase two” of coronavirus response legislation. Speaker Pelosi never negotiated with Leader McConnell or Senate Republicans on this legislation.
3/18: The Senate passes H.R. 6102 by vote of 90-8. Leader McConnell says, “I will vote to pass their bill. This is a time for urgent bipartisan action, and in this case, I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers.”
3/19: Leader McConnell introduces S. 3548 with four main priorities. In introducing the bill, he invited leading Senate Democrats to, “join us at the table right away.” While Senate pursues bipartisan approach to national emergency, House Democrats chart partisan course with Whip Clyburn telling his caucus that they will have, “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
3/20: A bipartisan working group of 20 Senators continues negotiating on the legislation. Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats work with Leader Schumer on provisions to add to the legislation.
3/21: Bipartisan negotiations continue. Leader Schumer tells CNN regarding negotiations, “to my delight and surprise there has been a great deal of bipartisan cooperation thus far,” and says he has been, “consulting with Speaker Pelosi hour by hour.”
3/22: Speaker Pelosi returns to the Capitol for a meeting with Secretary Mnuchin, Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, and Leader McCarthy. After the meeting, Speaker Pelosi “pauses” bipartisan negotiations and says the House will continue writing its own bill, and she reportedly demanded that the legislation include things unrelated to combatting the coronavirus.
Never forget: When the country needed Congress most, at a moment of desperation for employees and businesses alike, @SenateDems and @HouseDemocrats, led by @chuckschumer and @SpeakerPelosi, stopped rescue package cold and put the partisan calculations of party ahead of country.
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) March 23, 2020
Futures down, on Democratic gamesmanship with Senate bill. To play politics now is height of irresponsibility. Pelosi owns this. Again, Ds were part of the Senate crafting—were on board. Now caving to progressive wing—again. At peril of economy.
— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) March 23, 2020
Live look at multimillionaire Nancy Pelosi after waltzing into town and reviewing bipartisan plans to provide American workers & small businesses with urgently-needed relief, amid an unprecedented pandemic-induced economic stoppage: pic.twitter.com/N0V9K1Mn1K
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 23, 2020