Congress's coronavirus bill was supposed to be about saving lives -- not taking them! But tell that to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who doesn't seem to mind exploiting a global tragedy to help out her pals at Planned Parenthood. Turns out, while Democrats are bashing the president for not working fast enough, they're bogging down the debate with secret language on abortion.
The revelations shouldn't have caught anyone by surprise, but when a White House official broke the news that Pelosi tried to bury taxpayer-funded abortion in the stimulus bill, even MSNBC was stunned. Openly liberal host Joy Reid didn't hold back her amazement, tweeting, "Wow... @kasie just reported that Republicans' objections to the House Democrats' emergency coronavirus bill include issues related to abortion. What does that have to do with COVID19...?"
Absolutely nothing, which is why so many Republicans -- including the president -- were so frustrated. Asked if he supported Pelosi's first proposal, the president didn't mince words. "No," he fired back, "because there are things that are in there that have nothing to do with what we are talking about." The original 124-pager wasn't serious, he said. This crisis is not the time "for them to get some of the goodies that they haven't been able to get for the past 25 years." Not only is blowing a hole in the Hyde amendment the surest way to stop progress, it's also the best way to out themselves as hypocrites. "Pelosi wanted to sneak in a billion dollars in funding for abortion programs through the coronavirus stimulus package. Don't ever tell me the Democrats aren't politicizing this situation," Human Rights editor Ian Cheong argued.
Even more astounding, Pelosi had the nerve to stand in front of the press and argue that this bill was about "putting families first." If her colleagues had objections, she challenged, they should "save it." "We need to just make a decision to help families right now..." If she really believed that, House Minority Steve Scalise (R-La.) wanted to know, why was she trying to stuff the stimulus with "liberal fantasies that have nothing to do with the coronavirus?" Simple. Because even in a crisis, the only economy Democrats care about is the abortion industry's.
As for the rest of the deal, "a sweeping, multibillion-dollar package that would guarantee free testing for all Americans -- including the uninsured -- expand worker protections such as sick leave and unemployment insurance," Republicans are hopeful it will be the first wave of real and tangible help. Still, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) explained on Thursday's "Washington Watch," there are lingering concerns about what else was hurried along behind closed doors.
"Congress does its best work," he explained on Thursday's "Washington Watch," "when we work in the daylight -- when we hold hearings, get subject matter experts, and [testimony]. Then we make our decisions based upon facts. This," he warned, "is anything but that. This was something written in the speaker's office and delivered to us at 11:15 [Wednesday] night... So there are a number of open questions and we're being asked to render judgments or opinions really without a great deal of knowledge. That's unfortunate. And I'd lay that at the feet of the speaker. That's not the president has caused that. That's the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives."
For Pelosi's party, who's desperately tried to turn this crisis to their political advantage, they've not done their cause any favors. "There is so much bad blood in Washington," the New York Post bemoans, "and the leading Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, [have] further poisoned the well by attacking Trump mercilessly on his initial handling of the coronavirus. Right out of the gate, they sounded as if they wanted to impeach him again instead of helping him find solutions. So they, too, now face a crisis of their leadership. Will they help fight this killer disease and try to calm the nation? Or will they continue to abdicate their governing responsibilities and put their partisan interests ahead of the nation's well-being?"
We'll see. But their first attempts at "bipartisanship" sure don't look promising.