House Republicans on Monday night offered a detailed critique of what they called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “socialist wish list” in House Democrats’ $2.5 trillion proposal for responding to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Speaker Pelosi unveiled legislation aimed at exploiting the COVID-19 public health crisis by attempting to force the inclusion of a socialist wish list of policies that have nothing to do with the public health and economic emergency,” said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican.
After poring over the 1,400-page proposal, Mr. Scalise offered his characterization of Republicans’ objections to the following items:
Under the heading of “Union Giveaways”:
• Nullifies the White House executive orders on federal collective bargaining and codifies taxpayer-funded union official time.
• Requires a labor union representative on every airline’s board of directors.
• Multiemployer pension bailout lacking needed reforms.
• Permanently raises the minimum wage to $15 for any business that receives federal aid for COVID-19.
• Cancels all debt owed by the U.S. Postal Service to the Treasury.
Under the heading “Green New Deal priorities”:
• Requires all airlines that receive assistance to offset carbon emissions for domestic flights by 2025.
• Includes a $1 billion “cash for clunkers” airplane program where the Transportation Department buys fuel-inefficient planes from airlines in exchange for agreeing to buy new ones.
• Includes expansive new tax-credit for solar and wind energy.
Under “Student Loan Forgiveness”:
• $10,000 blanket loan forgiveness.
Under “Federalizing Elections”:
• Mandates how states must run elections, including the nationalization of ballot harvesting, requiring early voting, same day registration, and no-excuse vote by mail.
• Puts states at risk of costly litigation if they are unable to implement these stringent mandates ahead of the 2020 election.
Under “Immigration Provisions”:
• Requires the Homeland Security Department to automatically extend visas and work authorizations expiring within the next year, including those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status, for an amount of time equal to their prior visa, authorization or status.
• Limits Customs and Border Patrol’s ability to shutdown processing centers if there is a health crisis on the border and requires CBP to assure the timely adjudication of asylums applications.
• Would allow certain funding to go to sanctuary cities.
Under “Overreaching Mandates on Businesses”:
• Permanent changes to who can serve on corporate boards of directors for companies that receive assistance for payroll and operating costs.
• Mandatory disclosure on supply chain management.
• Requires board diversity disclosure for all publicly traded companies.
• Ban on all federal rulemaking including non-COVID 19 proposals (extends 30 days after emergency) “in an attempt to delay the current administration from promulgating actions House Democrats disagree with.”
Under “New Permanent Mandates”:
• Virtually rewrites the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program policy with no reference to COVID-19 and permanently disallows rulemaking pertaining to work requirements and eligibility.
• Permanent expansion of Obamacare entitlement, “putting the American taxpayer on the hook for endless and unchecked health insurance spending and would remove all incentives for insurers to reduce the cost of health insurance.”
Mr. Scalise said the Democrats’ bill also excludes bipartisan health-care provision in the Senate bill, including a proposal to expand telehealth access for home dialysis patients, hospice and home health patients; and a measure to prevent a payment reduction for durable medical equipment to help patients’ better transition from the hospital to home.
“Instead of working in a bipartisan, bicameral way to provide this immediate relief, the speaker has proposed legislation that includes highly partisan provisions while excluding key patient care provisions that would have a real impact on Americans affected by COVID-19,” Mr. Scalise told his Republican colleagues.
• Dave Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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