Even as she keeps the House AWOL, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is seeking to spend over $750 billion of taxpayer funds in another stimulus package expected to be unveiled this week.
Democrats are expected to propose another round of direct cash aid for Americans, funds for state and local governments, and more money to prop up shut-down businesses in what appears to be the Democrats’ vision for a protracted “stay-home economy.” The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the legislation may be completed this week and inject billions into state and local governments’ coffers. Any new bill is expected to face resistance from Republicans, who’ve said they have largely been left out of negotiations. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) said, “We’ve really not been invited into those discussions yet.”
White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett and other Trump administration officials said on Sunday that they do not believe a fourth economic stimulus package to address the coronavirus impact is needed right now. Hassett told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday, “I think it is premature given that the $9 trillion of aid that passed in the last three phases, given that is still out there and there’s a bunch of it that’s going to be delivered over the next month.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was on “Fox News Sunday,” said he would like to spend a few weeks discussing the next steps. “What the president and I are now saying is we’ve spent a lot of money. A lot of this money is not even into the economy yet, ” Mnuchin said, adding, “we just want to make sure that before we jump back in and spend another few trillion of taxpayers’ money that we do it carefully.” Mnuchin said emergency spending “worked quickly” before, and that “we’re willing to spend whatever it takes, but whatever it takes needs to be done carefully.”
Objective reporting for the educated American.
Even as the Senate continues to work on the Hill, the House —at Pelosi’s direction— remains shuttered. Feeling the heat for their prolonged absence, House Democrats are now floating plans that would upend centuries of legislative precedent and concentrate power into Pelosi’s hands.
One Democratic idea being floated is to ask a colleague to cast a vote on his or her behalf, known as a proxy vote. This proxy vote would count for purposes of a quorum—the majority needed to proceed with business. This would create a procedural fiction in which a representative would be considered “physically present” in the Capitol, even if she’s home on the opposite coast eating her freezer full of gourmet ice cream.
Physical presence is essential to effective, accountable, and transparent legislating. Farmers, truckers, and grocers don’t have the luxury of sending a “proxy” to do their jobs. Neither should Congress, especially when it comes to spending billions of our hard-earned money.
This opinion piece was written by Amy Johnston on May 11, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
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