Who’s Actually In Charge Of Republicans’ Coronavirus Response?

Who’s Actually In Charge Of Republicans’ Coronavirus Response?

Washington, DC — Republicans are in a rout. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has relinquished responsibility for a coronavirus response to the administration, the administration has negotiated a Democratic bill that fails to offer relief to struggling and tanking small businesses, and on Sunday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was forced to defend it all on Fox News.

“Let me ask you about this article on The Federalist,” Fox Business Global Markets Editor Maria Bartiromo asked McCarthy on FNC’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

“They’re saying that we’re going to see layoffs once this is over from small and mid-sized business,” she said, reading, ‘They need anything they can cling to to stay afloat and delay further layoffs. There is nothing for them in this apparent deal, nothing for the blue-collar businessman this country was founded on. Even the $50 billion that the president previously announced for Small Business [Administration loans] are only for big businesses who can guarantee it,’ but its bad for small businesses.”

“You are getting some pushback on this idea that small and mid-sized businesses are having to put out this big cost,” she continued.

“Well,” McCarthy countered, “if they read the final version of the bill they’d see the flexibility that the secretary has. The secretary of Treasury will actually advance the [sick-leave] money ahead of time so the small businesses will be able to have the resources if they have somebody on sick leave. Remember there’s a sunset time period, and also remember what we’re dealing with here. Just as [White House Coronavirus Taskforce member] Dr. [Anthony] Fauci says, we’ve got to get through that peak.”

We must, McCarthy continued, thank the president for his travel bans and other executive actions.

Of course, “the flexibility that the secretary has” does not extend to helping blue-collar entrepreneurs keep their doors open amid cratering revenues: “The flexibility that the secretary has” pertains only to providing cover to pay sick employees after they’ve walked out the door. Sick leave is very important, but sick leave doesn’t tackle the crisis hitting our employers — a crisis that is sure to send more Americans to unemployment benefit rolls every day it continues.

In McCarthy’s defense, Pelosi calls the shots in the House and is not letting this crisis go to waste, wielding her power with an unpatriotic and vicious partisanship. Among her initial demands were taxpayer lab refunds that were allowed to go toward aborting children, permanent paid-leave laws with no requirement the leave is related to the pandemic, and even administering sick-leave funds through the Social Security Administration — an organization that’s offices are filled with the very same elderly Americans most vulnerable to the virus.

These measures were, fortunately, stripped from the bill. But unfortunately for our business owners, their employees and our economy, the president’s request for immediate and temporary tax relief died on the operating table. It was “a nonstarter” for the speaker, one Republican staffer told The Federalist, referencing the San Francisco congresswoman who controls only half of one branch of a government otherwise dominated by the GOP.

The legislation is headed to McConnell’s Republican-controlled chamber next. That’s the same McConnell who canceled recess in anticipation of the House legislation while also throwing all responsibility for the national response to the White House. It would be good to see him start caring and start caring quick. The middle class is counting on him.

Christopher Bedford is a senior editor at The Federalist, the vice chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, a board member at the National Journalism Center, and the author of The Art of the Donald. Follow him on Twitter.
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