Friday, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) insisted that Congress’ next economic package provide billions for financially reeling state and local governments, signaling a coming dust-up as Representatives and Senators continuing their response to the coronavirus chaos.
“There will not be a bill without state and local aid“, Speaker Pelosi told reporters. Suggesting that she has some leverage to address a problem that shows no signs of fading.
Speaker Pelosi’s remarks puts her in conflict with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) who is opposed to providing more local help now.
But President Trump is non committing, signaling he stands between support and skepticism. Plus, some REpublican Senators and Governors have called for more aid for state and local governments.
That suggests an election-season battle in which a compromise will happen.
The China Virus has hammered state budgets from Coast to Coast, with the locked down economy shrinking sales tax revenues and huge job losses driving up their unemployment benefit costs.
The national battle over aiding states has taken on a partisan tone. The hardest-hit states include Democrat strongholds New York, California and Illinois, their Governors are on their knees, as they head for bankruptcy.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and other Democrats are demanding more aid for state and local governments.
Speaker Pelosi has begun framing the battle in political terms, as she did this last round, that delayed the aid/relief interim bill 3 wks while she argued for more ‘Pork’.
She says that House Democrats will include the money in legislation they will call the “Heroes Act” because it will include funds to pay the salaries of police, firefighters, transit workers, health workers in public hospitals and others battling the virus who she figures will line up against President Trump’s reelection,
The ‘masked marauder’ with her thousand dollar Hermes scarf lowered from her face, told reporters that it would be “morally wrong” to not help those people.
She has made dozens of remarks criticizing Leader McConnell by name, something Congressional leaders often avoid doing to each other.
The $2.3-T stimulus bill enacted last month included $150-B for state and local governments.
But in the interim bill that President Trump signed Friday providing roughly $484-B more for small businesses and hospitals, Republicans blocked all of the additional $150-B in Pork that Democrats wanted for state and local governments.
Leader McConnell is strongly opposed to providing more money for those governments. Cited concerns about the growing national debt and opposition to helping states resolve out of line pension and other serious problems.
“We’re not going to let them take advantage of this pandemic to let them solve problems they created for themselves,” Leader McConnell said.
Leader McConnell suggests that states be allowed to declare bankruptcy, which is not currently allowed. His suggestion has drawn criticism from members because it would jeopardize popular state services and cause their future borrowing costs to soar.
But just as Trump Administration and congressional negotiators reached a compromise Tuesday on the interim aid/relief legislation President Trump Tweeted about beginning talks over the next round of Aid. The 1st item he listed was “fiscal relief to State/Local Governments for lost revenues from COVID 19.”
Thursday, he told reporters at the White House that “we are always going to help states,” adding, “The states that seem to have the problem happen to be Democrat.” Saying New York and New Jersey “were in a lot of trouble long before the plague came.” I will add Illinois.
Have a healthy weekend, Keep the Faith!