Lisa Murkowski Put Good Stuff In COVID Relief Bill, Voted Against It Like Weird Person
Republican senators are very happy they remained united against helping people. They were worried about a potential defection from Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, but she ultimately voted against President Joe Biden's COVID-19 relief package. This means he's failed at bipartisanship and people can fret over that while cashing their generous stimulus checks and avoiding eviction.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune from South Dakota said, "We don't pressure people, but I'm glad she found her way to be with the team because I think it's a very strong message that this was — as we suggested all along — a very partisan process and a product that reflects a rushed, hurried attempt to get $2 trillion out the door."
Yes, the bill is partisan because Republicans deliberately withheld support, unlike Democrats who on past stimulus bills voted to keep the lights on in people's homes, even if it might've helped the previous White House squatter. Democrats also didn't pout and expect that a Republican president and Republican Senate would approve an overtly progressive bill. They understood elections have consequences, a concept Republicans still struggle to accept.
It's also annoying when Republicans complain that passing a vital stimulus bill during a pandemic was “rushed" and "hurried." This isn't your grandmother shopping at Target. Time is of the essence. Besides, Republicans happily confirmed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett in a partisan process that was quicker than ordering a vanilla latte in a Starbucks drive-through.
Thune said Murkowski had lots of discussions about the bill with Democrats “on some things that are important to her state, but I kind of always believed in the end that she would end up where she did." That destination is Obstruction Junction, where Alaskans are free to go fuck themselves because Murkowski is gonna remain loyal to her party.
Murkowski did introduce a damn good amendment to the stimulus bill, which she later voted against like a damn Republican. Amendment No. 1233 allocates $800 million of the Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund to support "the identification, enrollment, and school participation of children and youth experiencing homelessness." Murkowski and Joe Manchin introduced the amendment with Kyrsten Sinema, Rob Portman, Susan Collins, and Dan Sullivan.
The Alliance for Excellent Education broke down why this is important:
In part because the CARES Act did not specifically allocate funding to support children experiencing homelessness, one in four homeless children (420,000 homeless children) have gone unidentified and unenrolled in public schools. These students are disproportionately students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities. Without direct funding (not just an allowable use), these children are not being enrolled in school. Homeless children are too easily overlooked among competing demands.
That's far superior to all the garbage amendments Republicans offered, especially Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville's bigoted amendment that would've defunded schools whose sports teams didn't discriminate against transgender students. Manchin voted for this nonsense, but Murkowski, to her credit, did not.
Amendment No. 1233 was so popular it was easily adopted by voice vote. Manchin talked it up on the Senate floor.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased children and youth homelessness due to high unemployment, unstable living conditions, and job insecurity. It is estimated that one in four children experiencing homelessness, about 420,000 children, are potentially unidentified and not connected with a school system. Research has also found that rural areas – like my home state of West Virginia – lack vital resources for our homeless children and youth, adding to their already heavy burdens.
I am pleased my bipartisan amendment passed in the final COVID-19 relief package and I thank my colleagues for prioritizing our children and youth in need.
In the end, Manchin's Republican colleagues, including Murkowski, prioritized sticking it to Biden over helping at-risk children. What's scuzzy is that Murkowski, Collins, and Sullivan will probably claim credit for all the positives from Amendment No. 1233 even though the bill to which it's attached would've never passed if they'd had their way.
All Republicans suck. The end.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."