(RightWing.org) – Partisan problems appeared in the House of Representatives last Thursday, as lawmakers haggled over the latest and most ambitious anti-coronavirus bill making its way through the legislature. With the administration looking for quick fixes to protect workers and the US economy, and the Democrats wanting to spend, spend, spend, it took some real statesmanship by President Trump to get them to agree on anything.
Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), introduced an emergency bill last Wednesday in response to the coronavirus outbreak. While there’s bipartisan support for more help to the American people and the US economy, the administration says Dems are grabbing an opportunity to push spending items they’ve had on their wish list for a long time.
- The Dems proposed bill was mostly centered on a huge expansion of welfare spending and government handouts.
- Pelosi proposed an ambitious and expensive program of paid sick leave. The baseline would be a law requiring all employers to give up to seven days of paid leave, plus an extra 14 days when a public health emergency has been declared – like now. The government would cover the cost of this for businesses with under 50 employees.
- Their part of the bill also proposed a new federal paid leave program under the Social Security Administration (SSA). This would pay out to anyone who had to take 14 or more days off work because of COVID-19. It covers up to two-thirds of monthly earnings with a maximum of $4,000 for three months. Republicans are against this as it will take too long to implement and take valuable resources from the SSA.
- What both agree on is that more money would go to food banks, meal delivery programs and extending food stamps to a lot more families.
- The proposed bill would also provide free coronavirus testing to everyone, even if they’re not insured. Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers would be forced to pay for the tests.
- In addition, Republicans wanted to bring in measures that will let people help themselves and give the economy a boost. A key goal was to cut payroll taxes to zero, giving both workers and businesses more money to spend.
- President Trump appealed Thursday night for bipartisan support to get a combined version of the bill through, even with some of its imperfections. In the end, that’s just what he got. The bill passed easily on Friday with 363 representatives in favor and 40 voting against it.
- The final bill is a compromise, no payroll tax cut and no SSA program in sight. However, what is left is a plan to offer free COVID-19 testing, expand Medicare and food stamp programs and mandate companies to offer paid sick days and family leave for anyone affected by the coronavirus. Companies with over 500 employees would be exempt from this requirement.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Tuesday that the bill would likely pass in the Senate “as-is,” knowing that more spending bills are coming before this crisis is over.
It seems the Dems are finally acting like the adults by working together with their fellow GOP legislators to put the American people first.
It’s about time.
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