Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw took a rhetorical blowtorch to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, citing her recent press conference at which she effectively admitted outright that her refusal to negotiate in good faith on behalf of a COVID relief bill in order to help suffering Americans was a deliberate and calculated decision rooted in electoral politics. Month after month, with the pandemic wreaking havoc on Americans' health and livelihoods, Pelosi personally rejected repeated offers from the White House, including generous packages approaching $2 trillion. Her Senate allies, meanwhile, filibustered multiple pieces of legislation that would have secured hundreds of billions of dollars in relief funds. Giving the American people nothing, Pelosi said on several occasions, was preferable to giving them something that didn't meet with her personal approval.
Pelosi -- a multi-millionaire who has not suffered much or any hardship this year, infamously carving out special exception for an unlawful hair appointment while businesses struggled and faltered -- steadfastly opposed every option brought to her. But she's suddenly open to a much more modest compromise than her previous supposed "red line" dictated. Asked why she's changed her posture, she angrily scolded a reporter who suggested her prior all-or-nothing approach may have been a mistake (some of her own members have said as much, but she called it a choice of which she's "proud") and explained that the forthcoming vaccines and a new incoming president were the "game changers." As journalist Byron York has noted, the vaccine talking point is totally illogical:
As policy, it made no sense. Why condition help for struggling Americans on the development of a vaccine? Didn't the lack of vaccine in recent months, with virus raging, make it *more* urgent to help people? Yet Pelosi wouldn't do it. 3/10— Byron York (@ByronYork) December 8, 2020
The true strategy behind her approach was to deny any credit to Trump and Republicans, then parlay the resulting public anger into electoral success, further empowering her and her party. This cynical, callous, astoundingly selfish ploy only partially worked. She has her new president, but her party suffered down ticket. With her heartless, power-hungry calculus laid bare, Crenshaw took to the House floor to turn the speaker on blast. What Republicans had been alleging over her many months of stonewalling, he said, has now been confirmed by her own words. After ripping into Pelosi, the congressman turned his attention to some of the anti-science, ruinous COVID restrictions and lockdowns being imposed on Americans by politicians -- far too many of whom, like Pelosi, have gotten caught playing by their own special set of rules. All four-and-a-half minutes of this righteous indignation are worth your time:
Meanwhile, one of the Democrats' up-and-coming House members is misleading her followers on COVID relief legislation dynamics. After obnoxiously patting herself on the back for being a tough teller of truths ("I knew I had a responsibility to pull back the curtain for the American people and expose corruption in real time"), Rep. Katie Porter shared information that was either false or missing context in a viral Twitter thread. Is there a word for engaging in dishonesty while purporting to "expose corruption"?
Everyone at the negotiating table—including Senate Rs—has agreed to a compromise. Except one. Mitch McConnell is refusing to bring it to the floor unless it wipes away all COVID-related lawsuits filed that “allege injury or death” due to corporate negligence. (3/5)— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) December 9, 2020
Remember, Pelosi rejected a proposal that was double the size of the one currently being debated, entirely due to politics. Beyond that, hours prior to Porter's tweet, McConnell had actually proposed excising controversial and sticky policy issues like liability protections and assistance to state and local governments (both are good ideas, but need to have guardrails) from the compromise legislation in order to pass consensus forms of aid. This was immediately rebuffed by Chuck Schumer. Porter's tendentious little story is bunk, having also ignored the entire history of Democratic obstruction rehearsed above. And the very next day, it was her party's leadership that again intervened to throw up roadblocks -- while blaming McConnell, of course.
Pelosi and Schumer call Mnuchin offer “unacceptable”— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) December 9, 2020
“While it is progress that Leader McConnell has signed off on a $916 billion offer that is based off of the bipartisan framework, the President’s proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks“
These games are exhausting. It's hard to even keep up with Democrats' incoherent buck-passing and finger-pointing. People are hurting and have needed help for months. Pelosi has already demonstrated that she doesn't much care, but many others do. The parties seem to have settled on a package in the $900 billion range, and agree on many central provisions. Enough. Just get it done.