September 11, 2020
COVID Relief Sees Senate Gridlock

COVID Relief Sees Senate Gridlock

Tony Perkins

Judging by Democrat obstruction of the recent Senate vote on the latest coronavirus relief package, it's not COVID-19 on their minds, but this upcoming election season. As Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) observed on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, Democrats had no interest in supporting a bill which would have brought constructive relief to American across the country, instead almost uniformly voting against the half-trillion dollar bill, which fell short of the 60-vote procedural threshold when it failed 52-47.

"I think it's more and more clear of the Democrats in the Senate," Senator Blunt said, and in particular "the minority leader, [who] has decided that chaos is his friend, that the more we can put obstacles in the way of moving forward, I think he thinks that enhances the chance that Democrats may take over the Senate. I think people are going to see through that."

Rather than support this appropriately tailored bill with policies like tax breaks, incentives, and protections for private schools and homeschooling, liability protections for churches along with other entities and businesses, and an increase in the charitable deduction limit (so Americans can give more to relief efforts around the country), Democrats banded together to block the bill.

Such obstructionism is more keenly felt as schools and education systems are trying to reopen around the country.

As Senator Blunt noted, the bill would have particularly helped educational opportunity by providing money for private and religious schools: "We had language in there that would have some tax benefits for private school families. We had language in that bill that assured that every private school kid would get a fair share of money that went to a state . . . ."

The provisions Senator Blunt was referring to include tax credits and grants such as emergency education freedom grants, tax credits for contributions to eligible scholarship-granting organizations, education freedom scholarships, and 529 account funding for homeschool and additional elementary and secondary expenses. In addition, the relief bill had provided that it would not "permit, allow, encourage, or authorize any Federal control over any aspect of any private, religious, or home education provider."

At the end of the day, none of this mattered to Democrats. As Senator Blunt reminded us, they were only interested in a "three trillion dollar bill" with "everything you might expect to happen if Democrats got in control of the Congress and the country." As Senator Blunt's recognized: "There was some money in here for the small businesses that are being hurt" -- but that doesn't matter to Senate Democrats. If they had actually negotiated in good faith, "we could quickly agree on most of the elements that get people back to school, back to work and back to better health if our colleagues on the other side wanted to."

Now, this must wait for another day. For now, as long as the economy remains in lockdown and Democrat leadership continues obstructing economic and other relief, the picture will remain bleak and the future somewhat unknown.