HEROES Act Doesn’t Really Please Anybody

So right now, as I’m recording this on Friday May 15, the House is voting on a resolution — and they might be done with it by the time you watch this — but they’re voting on a resolution to allow Representatives to vote by proxy, meaning that a Representative can designate another Representative to vote on their behalf if they give them exact instructions, and I quote, “during a public health emergency due to a novel coronavirus, and for other purposes.”

This resolution will likely pass.

And then later today, the House is going to vote, some by proxy, on the HEROES Act, it will likely pass the House as well, despite at least one Democratic member of the House saying she won’t vote for it, and I’ll tell you who she is in a bit, and I think she makes a great point, but first Mitch McConnell in an interview on Fox yesterday gave us not one but two interesting tidbits.

First off, just real quick, Mitch admitted he was wrong when he said that the Obama administration didn’t leave “any kind of game plan” for a pandemic situation.

This is clearly an audible because, because let’s be honest here, just objectively Trump has blamed Obama quite a bit lately for things.

And beyond that, McConnell also said that there is a “high likelihood” that an additional coronavirus relief bill will be needed, but the timing is just not right now.

But of course Mitch didn’t leave without calling the Democrats’ proposed HEROES Act a “liberal wishlist”, “hardly salvageable”, and a “parade of absurdities”.

Doubtless among those absurdities Mitch would name are, for example, the $50 million in environmental justice grants to study the link between pollution exposure and coronavirus or maybe the $111 million to track species that could pose a biohazard risk to human health.

But regardless, this hasn’t stopped environmental groups from saying that the HEROES Act does not do enough for the environment.

For example, 350 Action, a group devoted to mobilizing progressive voters, getting climate champions elected, holding fossil-fueled politicians accountable, supporting frontline partners, and training young movement leaders has released a set of demands, not suggestions, but demands that includes banning the use of stimulus bill funds for the fossil fuel industry and other polluters, prohibiting construction by the fossil fuel industry and other polluters, stopping the sale of leases for fossil fuel extraction on public lands, and more.

Melinda Pierce from the Sierra Club said that the HEROES Act “unfortunately leaves out COVID-19 related assistance that could save clean energy jobs.”

Bracken Hendricks, who is the co-founder of some environmentalist nonprofit called Evergreen, chided Pelosi and company for not, and I quote, “leaning into and standing up for emerging clean energy industries that are suffering right now.”

He said that he doesn’t “think that the level of ambition or urgency in the current package reflects the real urgency of the moment.”

And, frankly, I just look at these groups, and these people, with their snide little calls to “lean in” to clean energy, and I’m just like, man, “Are you completely tone-deaf to what’s going on right now?”

There’s a time and place for talking about saving the environment and transitioning to clean energy, but that time is not now.

Like, Mitch has already called the HEROES Act a “parade of absurdities,” and you want to add more things that would be “absurdities” in his view, is that what you really want?

But I think this speaks to a bigger issue: the HEROES Act doesn’t really please anybody.

It certainly doesn’t please the Senate Majority Leader, who’s called it a “parade of absurdities,” it doesn’t please the President of the United States, who’s called it “dead on arrival” along with Lindsey Graham, it doesn’t please you the people with its weak stimulus payment proposal, and it doesn’t even please all Democratic members of the House.

I told you yesterday that Pete King, a Republican, will be voting yes in favor of the HEROES Act today, but at least one Democratic member of the House has said she will not be voting in favor of it.

Who is this? Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Democratic politician from a red state, Oklahoma hasn’t voted for a Democratic candidate in the presidential election since voting for Lyndon Johnson in 1964, kind of the opposite of the Republican defector Pete King, who’s a Republican politician from a blue state.

So there there might be some political posturing there, but regardless, Representative Horn said in a press release yesterday, this is kind of long, but I think it’s good, and I’m going to read a lot of it, she said, “Messaging bills without bipartisan support are a disservice to the American people, especially during a time of crisis.”

And by messaging bill, she means, a bill that serves to send a message, not really to have any real chance of being passed, that’s what she means there, so she says, “Messaging bills without bipartisan support are a disservice to the American people, especially during a time of crisis.”

“This is not the time for partisan gamesmanship, this is the time to find common ground and deliver help where it is needed most. In response to COVID-19, our relief efforts must be targeted” — that sounds like Mitch right there, right, who called for “narrowly-targeted legislation” — OK she says, “our relief efforts must be targeted, timely, and transparent. The HEROES Act does not meet those standards.”

“To deliver timely relief, we must put aside proposals that lack bipartisan public support and work to negotiate a legislative package that can pass both houses of Congress and earn the support of the White House.”

“Transparency requires time for public debate and discussion.”

“We must work with our Republican colleagues and leadership in the Senate to negotiate a targeted relief bill that is aimed squarely at the health and economic challenges we face.”

She goes on to say, “Unfortunately, the HEROES Act contains many measures unrelated to direct COVID-19 relief as well as political pet projects.”

“I urge congressional leadership to put aside any desire to use this as a political opportunity and instead focus on getting results in a bipartisan and bicameral way.”

“The American people need our help and we must deliver in a way that is responsive to the needs of our communities and is a responsible use of taxpayer dollars.”

I love this, I love all of this, and after having spent some time digesting this bill over the past couple days and sharing with you pertinent aspects in various videos, I have to ask, Nancy Pelosi, why are you wasting time with this bill that you know has no chance of passing?

I mean, she said it herself yesterday in a press conference, she said, “So now, we’re putting our offer on the table. We’re open to negotiation.”

You’re open to negotiation? You realize that the Senate is held by Republicans and the President, who himself has called this thing “dead on arrival”, is a Republican, right?

You’re in no place to be “open” to negotiation right now, Nancy, you do not have the upper hand here.

Republicans are in no rush, and this HEROES Act doesn’t exactly light a fire under their bottoms.


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