This week, Congress finally passed a “stimulus bill.” A bill that is supposed to help ordinary Americans get relief from the financial pain the COVID pandemic has caused. Unfortunately, the 900 billion dollar bill, which only provides a 600 dollar check to some Americans (those earning under 75K a year) and a mere 300 dollars per week in unemployment benefits, seems stingy. The reason it seems stingy to many is that it is. The benefit amounts are half of what the original CARES Act provided, and are coming after Mitch McConnell blocked two other more generous bills that Nancy Pelosi’s House of Representatives passed over the summer months.
But the cut-in-half payments are not the only things that make this bill a bad joke to those learning about its contents.
On top of the insult of the payments is the injury of who is getting much of the stimulus money — namely billionaires, foreign governments, and the military (including the faux branch of Trump’s “Space Force.”).
In the bill, which is over 5,000 pages, are such gems as:
One might be able to forgive Nancy Pelosi for being outfoxed by Mitch McConnell — being forced to accept a stimulus bill that is trillions below what they proposed. After all, this is a last-minute effort and Joe Biden promises that it is only a down payment — promising more relief will be on the way after he is sworn in.
This was a truly “this or nothing” proposition that McConnell put Pelosi in.
But Americans are becoming increasingly outraged — on both sides of the aisle over what did make it into this package. What Americans might not be able to forgive Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for is not speaking out about all the monies going to foreign countries and billionaires when it is Americans who are suffering. When Democrats try to spend any amount of money, no matter how small, on things that Republicans rally against, GOP leaders and members rush to whatever microphone or reporter is available to expose the spending and express their outrage.
Here, Pelosi and Schumer remained silent. Quietly going along with 3-martini lunches and billionaire tax breaks. They said nothing as foreign aid was slipped into the bill instead of insisting that such things be put in a separate bill at least for transparency’s sake. They could have used the “court of popular opinion” to motivate Americans to speak out and stand up against all the goodies in the bill that do nothing for Americans. It would have been a rallying cry that folks on both sides of the aisle probably would have united against — which is rare in the times we live in.
They remained silent, however. They allowed McConnell and the GOP to not only shortchange Americans but give them a proverbial middle finger as they dole out billions to foreign governments and billionaires — not to mention a border wall project Joe Biden has vowed will be shut down once he is in charge.
Their silence is truly deafening. The big question now is how much more will Americans put up with from the party leaders who are supposed to be representing the working class, underprivileged Americans, and the vulnerable? If this is how Pelosi and Schumer are “looking out” for them, well, as the old saying goes — with friends like that, who needs enemies?
That is not to say that Democrats and independents on the left side of the aisle are going to go Republican. But perhaps it is time for new leadership as the current leadership seems to have no interest in actually standing up for those they represent as this stimulus bill shows all too clearly.
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