Mitch McConnell Just Might Have Some Lint From His Pockets For COVID-19 Relief

Congress
Photos by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons License 2.0

Mitch McConnell plans to install Donald Trump's terrible Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in time for Halloween, which COVID-19 has effectively cancelled so you'll have to wear those Handmaid's Tale costumes at home. After the success of his latest evil scheme, McConnell is generously considering a coronavirus stimulus bill, which is also cursed because you can't win with this guy.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the “Heroes Act" in May, which the Republican-controlled Senate ignored for months while people starved. Coronavirus cases are surging and the economy is fading into a sepia-tone depression, and the best McConnell will offer is a "stripped-down" bill that has money for Trump's “Operation Warp Speed" but not a cent for state and local governments or any direct payments to Americans in the form of $1,200 stimulus checks. There is another round of stimmy for the job creators, but we can't tell if it still has "business protections" in the form of immunity from liability for businesses that grossly, negligently, infect their customers and workers. Maybe, maybe not! All we know is it was their red line — that and letting blue states suffer because hey, who cares?

McConnell's bill tops out at $500 billion. That's even more than what the president currently owes to unknown creditors, but significantly less than the $3 trillion “Heroes Act" or the $1.8 trillion the White House has proposed. This is a capital “T" trillion-dollar pandemic.


Nancy Pelosi has been lectured by fools for not accepting the White House's offer, but she's not holding out over pride or because, as Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria suggested, she's such a sheltered elitist she can't comprehend what normal people are enduring. This isn't about pride. It's about not selling desperate Americans short in their time of need.

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are being their typical terrible selves, dividing the nation into “good" states that deserve help and “bad" states that don't. Not coincidentally, the “good" and “bad" designation is entirely based on the political party that runs these states. (This is both evil and myopic, because in states such as Arizona and Georgia, the governor is a Republican but the cities, where most of the people live, have Democratic mayors.)

Republicans, including Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, have argued against a supposed “blue state bailout," which is a repulsive way of dismissing aid for Americans impacted by a natural disaster. They claim that so-called “blue states" just want a handout because they are “mismanaged." Even if that were true, the federal government doesn't withhold money from Florida or Louisiana after a major hurricane because of who their governors are. Republicans aren't even hiding the partisan rancor with the divisive term “blue state."

The “blue states" had to waste money early in this pandemic bidding against themselves for PPE because the Trump administration tried to turn the COVID-19 response into a reality show contest. Trump also demanded that governors curry his favor before he'd even pretend he was president of the entire United States.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo correctly noted that there's no national economic recovery without aid to state and local governments. Republicans love to boast about the strength of the US economy but California and New York are major drivers of our economy. Whose tax dollars does Hawley assume predominately funds our military and the federal troops Trump sics on “liberal" cities?

Missouri is far more dependent on federal tax dollars than New York, California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. As President Jed Bartlet once asked, “Can we have (that money) back, please?"

Republican pettiness is the bigger issues here than Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer almost developing a spine-like object between his neck and hindquarters. Schumer announced on Twitter Monday that he was “forcing a vote to adjourn the Senate until after the election." He wasn't going to permit “business as usual" while Republican leadership rammed through their unqualified Supreme Court justice.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn complained in full-blown whine that Schumer was “blocking COVID-19 relief," which Republicans haven't cared about for months. If relief were more than just a talking point, Republicans could actually negotiate with Democrats, perhaps even agree to delay Barrett's confirmation (although they realize this is her only shot).

Cornyn had grossly compared his enabling relationship with the president to a dysfunctional marriage. He's now treating Schumer like the wife whose concerns he can't understand, so he uses their daughter as a go-between. Although, in this case, the “daughter" is the grown-ass challenger for his Senate seat.

This fool publicly demands that “MJ" (or, more appropriately, Major MJ Hegar) call up Schumer and get some sweet stimmy for Texans. Hegar tweeted in response: “Motherfucker, I already have a job — taking yours!" (she might've phrased it differently).

There are exactly 14 days until the election. We can upgrade Cornyn with Hegar. We can flip the Senate. And in 2024, we can replace Hawley with a mop or whoever wins the Democratic primary. We're not stopping until every Republican is gone and can't hurt anyone else.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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