Pelosi Slams McConnell Over “Poison Pill” Stimulus Check Bill

By Claire Hardwick

The devil works hard, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell works harder. As President Trump threw a wrench in the newly passed second coronavirus stimulus package, President Trump put Republican lawmakers on the defensive by demanding an increase from the $600 stimulus check to $2000. Naturally, progressives in both chambers of Congress were elated. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi swiftly brought a simple piece of legislation to increase the number to the House floor, which passed with ease. The problem therein lied in the upper chamber, where Senate Republicans said they would not support more government spending for the epidemic. The increase of the stimulus check would cost taxpayers an extra $464 billion. 

This then put Senator Loeffler, Senator Perdue, and Senate Republicans up for reelection in a tough position. Loeffler and Perdue, who need the president’s support on January 5th, said they supported it. But what about the other members? And what if the bill didn’t pass on the Senate floor? That would give the Democrats the final push they needed to appeal to Georgia voters, and would give future Democrat hopefuls a campaign talking point for 2022. 

But instead, McConnell drafted up a new piece of legislation that turned the blame back onto Republicans. In one bill, he put in an increase to the stimulus check, a repeal of Section 230 in the NDAA (defense bill) that strips tech companies from their liability protection, and forms a special group to look into the 2020 election integrity. 

Of course, the Democrats would never support this bill. But the optics make it seem like they are the obstructors, not the Republicans. It also is a sweetheart bill that covers all of President Trump’s demands, putting the Senate Republicans back in his favor. 

At a news conference today, Pelosi expressed her frustration with McConnell. She said, “It’s amazing to see the patience that some people have with other people’s suffering. These Republicans in the Senate seem to have an endless tolerance. We urge Mitch McConnell to stop his obstruction and to bring that legislation to the floor of the Senate.” 

Pelosi’s response to McConnell’s new bill is to form her own special group to look into economic disparities. 

Why this matters: For months, Pelosi had been trying to get a higher stimulus check amount. When President Trump finally announced his support for a $2000 check, she thought she had one. What she did not know is that McConnell wouldn’t go down without a fight. Pelosi now will have to answer to her constituents’, as well as her members constituents’, as to why their check price isn’t as high as it could be.