In 2009, when America was in a deep financial crisis, our new president, Barack Obama, appointed Rahm Emanuel to be his chief-of-staff. Emanuel was known for two things: bare-knuckle politics and radical liberalism. And he knew that while America's attention was focused on recharging our economy it would be a great time to sneak in parts of the liberal agenda that otherwise might never get done. As he put it, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."
Some things never change. That's why the left is using the coronavirus relief bill as a way to fund its political agenda.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday that Washington Democrats are "kicking the coronavirus to the curb" and instead inserting funds for all kinds of pet projects. For example, Majority Leader McConnell noted that liberals want "taxpayer funded studies to measure diversity and inclusion among the people who profit off of marijuana. The word cannabis appears in the bill 68 times -- more times than the word job and four times as many as the word hire."
Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), said yesterday on my "Washington Watch" program that the Democrats' relief bill is little more than "a run on the bank, three trillion dollars, more in one bill than we spent in all the other packages combined." Rep. Perry said that their measure also makes sure that people here illegally will get stimulus checks without fear of deportation.
The bill also provides bailouts for mismanaged union pensions and provides massive funds for states that have mismanaged their monies. In a letter sent this week by some of Congress's top conservatives to House and Senate leaders, it was noted that the corona relief bill "reward(s) states that have mismanaged their budgets, incentivize future bailouts and reliance on federal funding." In a word, the bill "feed(s) the Left's ultimate goal of consolidating power in the federal government rather than empowering states."
And as reported in the Washington Times, the bill seeks to play fast-and-loose with something that goes to the heart of the Constitution: free and fair elections. The bill creates "a loophole in states' voter ID requirements, allowing people to cast ballots without having to prove who they are." And as Rep. Perry said yesterday, the so-called relief bill "requires 15 days of early voting for federal elections." To put it bluntly, he said, much of the coronavirus relief bill is "about stealing elections."
And just when you thought you'd heard everything, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi piped-up and said that the corona relief bill is a "momentous opportunity" for Congress to save the lives and livelihoods of the American people and even save "our democracy." If she hadn't said this, I don't think anyone could have thought it up: How can our system of representative self-government (it's called a republic, Madame Speaker) be saved by a gigantic federal spending bill that makes the states little more than clients of Uncle Sam?
Majority Leader McConnell has rightly called the House Democrats' coronavirus relief package a "a catalog of left-wing oddities." The House is debating this bill as I write, and they are expected to pass it along party lines. But thankfully, Majority Leader McConnell will usher it to the legislative graveyard in the Senate.
Even though the measure will not become law it will do two things. First, it reveals the priorities of the new and more radicalized Democratic Party: Spend money we don't have, squeeze the private sector, rig elections, and use every opportunity to advance an agenda that socializes the economy and expands Washington's power. Secondly, it will be used as a negotiating gambit by Speaker Pelosi as House Democrats try to hijack any reasonable bill advanced by the Senate.