Republicans are noticing that one word comes up quite a bit in the Democrats' HEROES Act, their latest coronavirus relief offering. Marijuana, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) noted in a recent Fox News interview, is mentioned more times than jobs. To put it mildly, Cassidy said the Democrats' bill "needs more tailoring to where people's needs are."
"They are not willing to give unless they get policy," Cassidy told Fox News's Neil Cavuto. "Their HEROES Act mentioned marijuana more than it mentioned jobs...They are willing to let those unemployed suffer with no benefit in order to achieve policies which I don't think are critical to responding to coronavirus."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the same observation, mocking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for touting the benefits of marijuana during the coronavirus pandemic.
"She said that, with respect to the virus, marijuana is quote 'a therapy that is proven successful,'" McConnell said on the House floor on Tuesday. "You can't make this up."
McConnell sarcastically asked the speaker if she plans to share this medical "breakthrough" with Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Speaker Pelosi is still holding up this entire package over bizarre unrelated things like carveouts for the marijuana industry. She even claimed to the press that pot is a proven COVID-19 therapy!— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) August 4, 2020
I hope she’s shared this breakthrough with Dr. Fauci.
Can we get serious yet? https://t.co/CksSWrMKDN
Sen. Cassidy repeated another concern on many Republicans' minds: Unemployment benefits that may be doing more harm in the long term than good.
"There are some people making 400 percent, or thereabouts, of what they would earn if they were working," Cassidy noted. "Now clearly that is an incentive for people to not work."
In their own coronavirus relief effort, Republicans have suggested lowering the current $600 a week unemployment benefits to $200 a week. So far that has been a nonstarter for Democrats.