- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 14, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday refuted the “partisan wish list” label lobbed at her $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill, saying it’s no different than other packages Congress has passed.

At a press conference, Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, argued that there was a double standard for Democrats, pointing out that the initial versions of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act and the emergency interim bill for small business loans were put out by the GOP.

Democrats objected to both of those early proposals and bipartisan packages were negotiated.

“It’s no leader when the leader in the House, a Democrat, writes a bill,” she said. “So now we’re putting our offer on the table. We’re open to negotiations.”

“Wait a minute, it wasn’t partisan when they did it?” she added.

The massive Democrat-led package has received a wave of backlash from Republicans, and even a few moderate Democrats, for being an unserious attempt and more of a messaging bill.

“This is not the time for partisan gamesmanship, this is the time to find common ground and deliver help where it is needed most,” Rep. Kendra Horn, Oklahoma Democrat, tweeted. “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.”

“I urge House leadership to put aside any desire to use this as a political opportunity and instead focus on getting results in a bipartisan, bicameral way. The American people need our help,” she added.

Mrs. Pelosi argued that much of what is in the bill — “well over 80%” — is something Congress has voted on before, such as state and local government, testing funding, and funding for government programs such as SNAP.

The bill provides over $800 billion for state and local governments — a major priority for Democrats left out of the last bill, but an area of suspicion for Republicans.

Additionally, the bill expands access to voting by mail, by saying states can’t impose additional requirements on otherwise eligible voters to cast an absentee ballot through the mail.

It also includes $175 billion for rent and mortgage subsidies and $25 billion in assistance for the struggling U.S. Post Office.

The bill eliminates for two years a $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction, a prized benefit for generally higher-income residents in blue, high-tax states.

The House is set to vote on the bill, dubbed the Heroes Act, as well as a historic temporary rules change to allow the chamber to vote by proxy and hold remote committee hearings.

Mrs. Pelosi slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for resisting another package.

“He wants us to just pause. But families know that hunger doesn’t take a pause,” she said. “The hardship of it all … it just doesn’t take a pause.”

Mrs. Pelosi said that she expects Republicans will eventually come up with their own offer.

Mr. McConnell, however, said his focus is on working on a package to implement liability protections for small business owners and health care providers.

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