"I'm hoping for infinity." That's what Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) joked to a reporter about how long Wednesday night's debate over virus aid will be. "I don't want it to pass," he said seriously, so an endless debate would suit him just fine. And an endless debate is what the Senate is in for, thanks to the reconciliation process Democrats are using to ram through their miserable excuse for "virus relief." At $1.9 trillion dollars, the price tag is steep -- but is it as steep as the price liberals could (and hopefully will) pay in the midterms?
In the House, the only thing that was bipartisan about the COVID relief package was the opposition. Not a single Republican voted for the plan, and two Democrats crossed over to join them. Now, facing the slimmest of margins in the 50-50 U.S. Senate, Joe Biden has his work cut out for him. The conservatives' messaging, along with the unflattering analysis from several economists, has done plenty to take the shine off of the White House's legislation. Making the hill even higher for Biden, he can't afford to lose a single Democrat.
That's a tall order on a bill slammed for having almost nothing to do with the pandemic it's supposed to address. "Every American, according to Joe Biden today, will be able to get a vaccine in fewer than 90 days. Yet they still want to spend two trillion dollars that we don't have," Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) argued on "Washington Watch," "90 percent of which goes to things other than coronavirus." Look, he said, "Look, we passed five-plus bills last year related to coronavirus -- many of them passed unanimously. They passed in the Senate on average with more than 90 votes. It's clear that Senate Republicans were willing to cooperate and work in a bipartisan fashion to address the genuine needs that our country may have. What we are not willing to do," he warned, "is spend hundreds of billions of dollars of your tax dollars bailing out poorly run states or subsidizing teachers unions who still to this day refuse to go back to school even if they're given priority access to the vaccine."
Of course, Joe Biden is racing to pass this package -- and it's not difficult to see why. If Democrats don't move quickly, they'll miss using this crisis to advance their agenda. But where was that same urgency in 2020, Cotton asked, when he was sounding the alarm about the virus? Had the Left not been so wrapped up in impeaching President Trump, the whole country could have resolved this crisis sooner. Instead, they ignored the warnings, pursued their political vendetta, and then turned around and blamed Republicans for not doing something about it.
But at the end of the day, what will hurt Democrats isn't their failure to act. It's their decision to pass off pork and payoffs as meaningful action for the American people hoping that $1400.00 in hush money will distract voters. "The Biden bankruptcy bill is going to bankrupt America, the Pelosi payoff," Cotton argued. "One reason he thinks there's no time left [is that]... the American people are going to realize that this is not about battling a once-in-a-century pandemic. This is about paying off Democratic clients and constituencies. I mean, just look at some of the stuff that's in this bill. You mentioned the Blue State bailout. The bill is going to give billions of dollars to states like California who have been fiscally mismanaged for years, and who didn't even lose money last year. California has more tax dollars this year than it did last year. Yet Congress is about to give California billions of dollars. You could say the same thing over and over again about other Democratic states."
There are millions for trains, theater, art, bridges, liberal teachers' unions -- you name it. And unlike the legislation passed under Donald Trump, this leaves the door wide open for abortion funding. In the foreign aid funding, Democrats are breaking with a half-century tradition and forcing taxpayers back into partnership with abortion providers. "Our [relief] last year in every instance ensured that affiliates of Planned Parenthood could not get your tax dollars. That is taken out of this bill," Cotton explained. It's one of the reasons that -- to his knowledge -- no Republican will vote for it.
"I can't imagine who would, given that this is almost nothing to do with the coronavirus almost entirely, just a payoff to Democratic Party clients and patrons and constituencies. Second, I have to imagine that in the end, they're going to get all 50 Democratic votes. There's probably a lot of arm-twisting and a lot of hollering and squealing going on behind closed doors right now, but they view this as their number one priority. This is their way to pay off all the people who have been supporting them and their campaigns for decades and maybe a controversial amendment here or there will get adopted... I suspect in the end, the Democrats are going to walk the plank on this." But he warned, "they'll pay the price next year in the election."