Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has some bad news for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He is not disposed to consider a fourth coronavirus stimulus package so soon after the third one has passed so recently. He said so recently on the Hugh Hewitt radio program.
“I think you have to genuinely be aware of the Speaker in a situation like this. I’m reminded of what Rahm Emanuel said during the financial crisis – never let a crisis go to waste. What that meant was seize in the crisis to try to achieve unrelated policy items that you have not been able to get under other circumstances. So I would think any kind of bill coming out of the House I would look at like Reagan suggested we look at the Russians – trust, but verify.”
McConnell is aware that Pelosi blew up the bill that recently passed, delaying it for a wee, in an attempt to insert a gab bag of liberal policy asks. Some of Pelosi’s agenda survived in the final bill, including the infamous Kennedy Center grant. Pelosi is trying to have another go at it to use the coronavirus pandemic to enact a slew of dubious spending and tax breaks for her supporters.
What does Pelosi want in a new bill? It looks like she wants tax cuts for the rich.
“As lawmakers prepare for another round of fiscal stimulus to address economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested the next package include a retroactive rollback of a tax change that hurt high earners in states like New York and California. A full rollback of the limit on the state and local tax deduction, or SALT, would provide a quick cash infusion in the form of increased tax rebates to an estimated 13 million American households — nearly all of which earn at least $100,000 a year.”
As part of President Trump’s 2017 tax reform package, the state and local tax deduction was capped at $10,000 while the standard deduction was expanded for people on the lower-income range. The reform fell heaviest on wealthy Americans living in blue states, such as Pelosi’s California. Now the Speaker would like to cut her rich constituents a break while sticking it to the little people.
Hot Air notes that the ploy is so cynical that even the New York Times was not able to run interference for Pelosi. Her ploy would be a big giveaway to wealthy Democratic donors, who would turn around and reward Democrats with fat contribution checks. Hot Air has one word for the gambit: “ghoulish.”
The upshot is that McConnell, who is not called “Cocaine Mitch” for nothing, is not going to allow anything like the bill Pelosi is proposing to even be considered in the Senate.
In the meantime, President Trump has an idea for a new coronavirus stimulus bill. Bloomberg reports that Trump would like a $2 trillion infrastructure bill. The theory is that the money can be borrowed at near-zero interest rates and then used to fix and enhance roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. With the ability to transport goods more efficiently and quickly, the projects would have a measurable economic benefit.
The gentle reader may be forgiven for asking him or herself, didn’t we spend $1 trillion on “shovel ready” projects at the beginning of the Obama era? Of course, we didn’t. If any road or bridge was fixed by that bill it was likely by accident. The vast majority of the money was wasted on pork-barrel projects of no value except for supporters of Pelosi and the Democrats.
Trump has indicated that he is aware of the pitfalls of a huge infrastructure bill. He has ruled out anything that smacks of the Green New Deal. That means no solar (can anyone say Solyndra?), wind or high-speed rail boondoggles.
Pelosi has indicated that she will support an infrastructure bill. Truth to tell, Democrats find that sort of thing attractive as it would provide plenty of good-paying, union jobs. On the other hand, a lot of people in the building trades tend to be Trump supporters.
Trump knows that the trick will be passing a bill that has as little of Pelosi’s nonsense as possible. Political observers note that it will be a tall order.