Nancy Pelosi Holds Pandemic Relief Hostage for the Green New Deal

All last weekend, Democratic and Republican Senators huddled hour after hour hammering out a bipartisan deal to get financial relief to the individuals, companies and state and local governments affected by the widespread shutdowns in response to the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.  By Sunday evening, a deal had been reached to send checks directly to American citizens, provide billions in funding to hospitals, make billions in loans available to businesses small and large. While not perfect, the deal provided an immediate injection of help to cratering American household budgets and the wider economy.

But Sunday night, returning from a weeklong recess, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she was not satisfied with this bipartisan deal and would be introducing her own.  Suddenly, Democrats were demanding emissions limits for airlines, sweeping collective bargaining mandates, extensions of wind and solar tax credits, an extension of electric vehicle tax credits, federalizing state election rules, student loan cancellation, a bailout for the postal service, and on and on.  In fact, Pelosi’s demands looked a lot like the project of the left-wing of the Democratic Party known as the Green New Deal.

In 2009 the famous quote to accompany the bank bailouts and wasteful “stimulus” was “never let a crisis go to waste” from Barack Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel.  In 2020, we get “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision” from Speaker Pelosi’s third in command, Rep. Jim Clyburn. The Democrats decided that an unprecedented global pandemic was the perfect opportunity to hold America hostage for their Green New Deal.

It is hard to understate the outrageousness and cynicism of Pelosi’s gambit.  Millions of Americans have already been laid off as businesses have been forced to close by state lockdowns.  Small businesses, like restaurants, face imminent bankruptcy as their revenues abruptly vanish. Hospitals, bracing for a flood of patients, are worried about making payroll.  The American people need immediate help, but at the last minute, Nancy Pelosi jeopardized everything for her Green New Deal.

Thankfully, such shamelessness was finally a bridge too far, even for a media that normally bends over backward to cover for the environmental left.  Under an avalanche of criticism, Pelosi backed down and finally today the Senate will pass the deal agreed to on Sunday with only a few minor tweaks (tweaks that Senate Republicans would have agreed to on Sunday).  

But we can’t forget this incident.  Nancy Pelosi has delayed this much-needed disaster relief by three days.  The end of the month is less than a week away when millions of individuals and businesses must pay rent and mortgages.  Even with the deal on Sunday, it was going to be hard for the government to get assistance out in time. With Pelosi’s cynical delay, it will take that much longer for relief to reach the American people.  

For three days, Nancy Pelosi held up pandemic relief for her own selfish political payoffs.  Even by the standards of Washington, DC, Pelosi’s gambling with the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans is shocking.  When Americans were desperate and hurting, Pelosi saw only a chance to jam the Green New Deal down the country’s throat. Never forget it.

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