Congressional Democrats are demanding an “ideological wish list” including new collective bargaining powers for unions as they hold up a nearly $2 trillion economic package of coronavirus relief, Republicans said Monday.
The Democrats’ belated list of demands includes new, tighter fuel emission standards for airlines and an expansion of wind and solar tax credits, a senior Republican aide said.
“As Leader Schumer continues to hold up the desperately-needed relief package, the last-minute list of demands from Pelosi’s and Schumer’s ideological wish list are coming into focus,” the aide said of Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Mr. Schumer said Monday that Democrats are seeking “protections for workers and labor [at] companies that are getting hundreds of billions of dollars.”
“That is a wish list for workers, nobody else,” Mr. Schumer said. “These are not extraneous issues. We are looking for protection.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said of the Democrats’ wish list, “Are you kidding me? This is not a juicy political opportunity. This is a national emergency.”
Mr. McConnell described the Democrats’ push for renewable energy tax credits as “completely, non-germane wishlist items.”
The Republican source said the demands “popped up after Speaker Pelosi flew back from San Francisco yesterday after taking a week off.”
Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, called the new demands “disgusting.”
The senior Republican aide said, “Not only are these completely unrelated to the coronavirus epidemic, they could prevent companies from participating in the loan programs altogether — directly causing unnecessary layoffs.”
All Democratic senators voted against the measure on Sunday night. Negotiations with the administration are ongoing Monday.
Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, accused Democrats of playing “partisan games” on Sunday and said, “One House Democrat, for example, said this is a ‘tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision,’ ” referring to House Majority Whip James Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat.
Mr. Clyburn reportedly made the remark last Thursday in a conference call with Democratic colleagues.
Mr. Cornyn, speaking on KFYO’s “The Chad Hasty Show,” said Democrats are being “completely irresponsible.”
“I’m … pretty frustrated and downright angry at Sen. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi sitting on the sidelines receiving a government paycheck while hundreds of thousands of Americans are out of work because they’ve been told they can’t go to work and they’re not receiving a penny,” he said. “What they’re doing is using this crisis to advance their ideological and political agenda. This is not a time for that.”
Mr. Cornyn added, “We’re trying to get them some help as well as the small businesses that we hope will still be in existence when this virus passes, as well as try to provide some loans that will be paid back to large employers that employ hundreds of thousands of people so our economy can jump back after this temporary crisis.”
• Dave Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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