From the beginning, McConnell has been a hindrance to coronavirus relief. Remember way back in March, when the House passed Phase 2 of relief, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act? That was the bill that McConnell delayed bringing up for days—after insisting action was urgent—so that he could head to Kentucky to have a celebration with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and brand spanking new federal judge Justin Walker, McConnell’s protege (who after literally half a minute of being a judge has now been shoved through by McConnell to the second highest court in the land). After deservedly catching a lot of heat for that, McConnell then insisted that the next bill was going to be all his.
What became the CARES Act did, sort of, start with McConnell. It started as nothing more than a $500 billion fund to bail out corporate America. Senate Democrats rejected that bill twice, rightly insisting on adding enhanced unemployment benefits as well as direct cash payments, the small business loan program Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), food assistance, money to hospitals and other health providers, and funding for testing and equipment. That’s what McConnell’s trying to claim as his own when he fought tooth and nail to prevent it from happening.
Since then, McConnell has steadfastly refused to let any other serious relief funding pass. Congress has done a couple of extensions to the PPP, but that’s all. The House passed another $3 trillion in stimulus on May 15—yes, more than six weeks ago. And it sits on McConnell’s desk. He’s refusing to even consider it, refusing to consider extending enhanced unemployment insurance payments after they expire on July 30. He’s refusing aid to states and localities despite the loss of 1.5 million state and local government jobs since February.
He’s been back in Kentucky, crowing: “Cumulatively, we have thrown at this disease, and all the impact that it’s had, roughly $3 trillion,” which he had to be forced to do. Which is a fraction of what is necessary if the nation is to mitigate the $16 trillion in damage to the economy the Congressional Budget Office is forecasting. By refusing to continue to respond to the pandemic, by boosting Trump and his bullshit narrative that we’re winning because we’re reopening, McConnell is literally helping kill people.
And he’s back home taking credit for the hard work and perseverance of Democrats.