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How’s this for hypocrisy on parade?
With the passage of the $900-billion coronavirus relief spending bill, part of a $2.3-trillion suite for funding the government, everyone knows about the upcoming $600 stimulus checks for America’s beleaguered workers. They’re welcome enough, but relatively paltry, a mere half of the $1,200 de facto tax credit that was delivered in the bill passed last spring. This $600 is also a tax credit.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though, is busy claiming credit:
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) December 21, 2020
She calls the $600 checks “significant.”
And her flying monkeys among the Democrats in Congress are trying, in talking-point lockstep, to claim credit, too. Here’s what Rep. Susan Davis, my own representative in the House from San Diego, blast-emailed to her constituents this morning, emphasis mine:
The bipartisan agreement on emergency coronavirus relief includes many important provisions Democrats fought hard to secure.
Accelerates Vaccine Distribution to Crush the Coronavirus: Democrats secured billions in urgently needed funds to accelerate the free and equitable distribution of safe vaccines to as many Americans as possible as soon as possible. This funding also helps implement a strong national testing and tracing strategy with billions reserved specifically for combating the disparities facing communities of color and to support our heroic health care workers and providers.
Provides Direct Payments, Rent, Food, and Unemployment Money for the American People: Democrats secured another round of direct payments worth up to $600 per adult or child, averted the sudden expiration of Unemployment Insurance benefits for millions and added a $300 per week UI enhancement for Americans out of work, and lengthened the number of weeks an unemployed worker can receive benefits by 11 weeks. Direct payments could be available as soon as next week and will be sent to all Americans who received a payment earlier this year. Additionally, the bill includes critically needed emergency rental assistance, extends the federal eviction moratorium, provides a 15 percent increase to SNAP, and boosts child nutrition benefits to help relieve the historic hunger crisis that has left up to 17 million children food insecure.
Delivers Key Tax Benefits for Struggling Families: Democrats won improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit that help ensure that families who faced unemployment or reduced wages during the pandemic are able to receive a strong tax credit based on their 2019 income, preserving these vital income supports for vulnerable families. To support workers, the agreement extends and improves the Employee Retention Tax Credit to help keep workers in their jobs during coronavirus closures or reduced revenue and also provides a tax credit to support employers offering paid sick leave, based on the Families First framework.
Provides Strong Support for Small Businesses: Democrats secured critical funding and policy changes to help small businesses, including minority, women, and veteran owned small businesses. The agreement includes over $284 billion for first and second forgivable PPP loans, dedicates set-asides for very small businesses and lending through community-based lenders like CDFIs and MDIs, key modifications to PPP to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits and better assist independent restaurants, $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions and $20 billion for targeted EIDL Grants which are critical to many smaller businesses on Main Street. Additionally, businesses that received PPP loans will be able to take tax deductions for the expenses covered by forgiven loans, saving businesses about $200 billion.
Funds Education, Child Care, and Students: The agreement provides $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools, including support for HVAC repair and replacement to mitigate virus transmission and reopen classrooms, and $10 billion for child care assistance to help get parents back to work and keep child care providers open. The package includes the largest expansion of Pell Grant recipients in over a decade, reaching 500,000 new recipients and ensuring more than 1.5 million students will now receive the maximum benefit.
Delivers More Affordable Broadband Access: The agreement invests $7 billion to increase access to broadband, including a new Emergency Broadband Benefit to help millions of students, families and unemployed workers afford the broadband they need during the pandemic.
Secures Key Funding Streams for State and Local Governments: While state and local governments need much more funding to prevent the senseless layoffs of heroic essential workers and critical service cuts, Democrats won new targeted funds for state and local government functions that will help alleviate their overall budget burdens. These targeted funds include the emergency resources for schools, $27 billion for state highways, struggling transit agencies, Amtrak and airports, $22 billion for the health-related expenses of state, local, tribal and territorial government and an additional year of eligibility for expenses under the CARES Coronavirus Relief Fund.
Creates Good-Paying Jobs in Clean Energy and Infrastructure to Fight the Climate Crisis: The agreement includes sweeping clean energy reforms, R&D enhancements, efficiency incentives, extends clean energy tax credits and includes the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020, creating more good-paying jobs strengthening and improving the vital water infrastructure that Americans rely on. The package also phases out superpollutant HFCs, positioning the U.S. to lead the world in avoiding up to 0.5 degree Celsius of global warming.
Ends Surprise Billing: Patients deserve the peace of mind to know that, whether in an emergency or a planned in-network procedure, they will not be hit with crushing, surprise medical bills for out-of-network treatment beyond their control. The agreement includes bipartisan legislation that will end surprise bills for emergency and scheduled care, so patients are only responsible for their usual cost-sharing amounts and deductibles. With patients protected, the legislation establishes a fair process for health care providers and health plans to sort out the out-of-network costs between themselves, without the patient stuck in the middle.
Supports the Global Fight Against COVID: Democrats secured an additional $3.36 billion for a total of $4 billion for GAVI, the international vaccine alliance, recognizing that we are not truly safe until the whole world is safe from the coronavirus.
For a bill that Davis insisted was super-bipartisan, there sure wasn’t a lot of Republican involvement, based on what she wrote in her email. Odds are good that Davis’s credit-hogging was done at the behest of Pelosi, given that Democrats often move in lockstep.
But it’s weird stuff. Way back in March, when the double-size stimulus checks were approved in Congress, Pelosi called the government cash payments a mere “mitigation.” Now they’re “significant.”
And here’s another one for the hypocrisy file: those “significant” checks, small as they are, were held up by Pelosi, according to none other than Bernie Sanders, as a means of getting Joe Biden elected president. Pelosi was the roadblock to these stimulus checks, not letting so much as a penny go out until workers voted for the man she wanted.
Yet here’s where it gets downright “blech”:
The stimulus checks are being written out and paid because state and local governments have shut down so much of the economy, throwing millions out of work. It doesn’t matter that the virus statistics seem to be lumped in with seasonal flu deaths, or that COVID-19 has a 95% to 99% cure rate, or that a vaccine has been produced, or that even the World Health Organization has found that asymptomatic transmission is extremely rare. All of these factors argue against lockdowns and lost jobs. But the useless lockdowns done by Democrats are continuing, artificially shutting down large parts of the economy.
And Pelosi’s response is the $600 check, which she calls “significant.”
Compare and contrast to a non-relief check that workers were finding in their paychecks as a result of the Trump tax cuts of 2018.
There, workers found $1,000 to $2,500 additions to their paychecks as a direct result of Trump’s tax cuts. Like the stimulus payments, it was directly related to the tax code, but instead of a wait-for-it-to-arrive check for the tax credit, the middleman was cut out. Some $30 billion ended up in worker pockets with those Trump tax cuts. Workers gained.
Pelosi’s response? She called that “crumbs.”
So let’s get this straight: money from the government coffers that you have to wait for is “significant.” Money you earn yourself is “crumbs.”
No wonder a majority of Americans, according to a poll out today, don’t want Pelosi anywhere near the levers of power. She will go Orwell on you and tell you you’re supposed to be excited.