McConnell Offered A Real Compromise, So When Will Pelosi And Schumer?

Last Week, Leader McConnell Offered To Compromise In Order To Get Crucial COVID Relief To Americans, But Democrats Stubbornly Refuse To Reciprocate

SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “If we could just get past that, if the Republican Leader would only back off maximalist demands on corporate immunity, we could get something done. I mean it. We could actually get something done.” (Sen. Schumer, Floor Remarks, 12/11/2020)

  • SCHUMER: “The American people, all of us, are sick of this ridiculous gamesmanship by the Majority Leader. We need to come together. We need to get something done. The American people deserve an outcome, and it's not going to happen if the Republican majority insists on getting 100% of its partisan demands.” (Sen. Schumer, Floor Remarks, 12/11/2020)


But Sen. Schumer Knows That Leader McConnell Has In Fact Offered To Compromise On An Important Policy Position

LEADER McCONNELL: ‘I Recommend ... We Set Aside Liability And Set Aside State And Local,’ ‘Both Sides Drop What Seem To Be The Most Controversial Demand’

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY):I suggested that both sides drop what seem to be the most controversial demand in the eyes of our counterparts. Democrats continue to oppose common-sense legal protections that university presidents have been begging for; and Republicans see no need to send huge sums of money to state and local governments whose tax revenues have actually gone up. Negotiating 101 suggests we set those two controversial pieces aside and plow ahead with the huge pile of things that we agree on. But that would require both sides to truly want an outcome.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 12/09/2020)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “It remains my view that we ought to pass what we can agree on, and I think that's a pretty broad area that includes PPP, vaccine delivery, additional assistance to healthcare providers, and a variety of other things that are not controversial. The two big items that you have been writing about are liability protection and state and local government. … What I recommend is we set aside liability and set aside state and local impasse those things that we can agree on, knowing full well we will be back at this after the first of the year. … [W]hy don't we set aside the two obviously most contentious issues we know we're going to be confronted with another request after the first of the year. We'll live to fight those another day and pass the things that we agree on.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Conference, 12/08/2020)


FLASHBACK: Leader McConnell Repeatedly Emphasized The Importance Of Liability Protections In Any COVID Relief Legislation

LEADER McCONNELL: “Here is just one example of a commonsense policy that Republicans will insist on. Even as the entire country is rallying behind healthcare workers and small businesses, trial lawyers are already looking for ways to line their pockets by suing the very people we are bending over backwards to help. As one recent Washington Post column put it, ‘fear of COVID-19 lawsuits is not [some] mere Republican reflex.’ It went on to list all sorts of lawsuits that are already pouring in. This kind of hostile climate would create yet another major headwind we cannot afford. So Republicans will be insisting on strong legal protections for the front lines. We won’t let our historic recovery efforts be diverted so that taxpayers foot the bill for the biggest trial-lawyer bonanza in our history.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 5/05/2020)

LEADER McCONNELL: “To step back toward normalcy, our country will need K-12 and college students to resume their schooling, we will need to reenergize hiring to get workers their jobs back, and we will need continued progress on the healthcare fight to get ready for the fall and winter and speed the search for a vaccine. One helpful policy would be strong legal protection for schools, colleges, nonprofits, and employers who are putting their necks on the line to reopen. So long as institutions follow the best available guidelines, they should not have to live in fear of a second epidemic of frivolous lawsuits.” (Sen. McConnell, Congressional Record, S.3979-3980, 6/30/2020)

LEADER McCONNELL: “It’s about hospitals and doctors and nurses and teachers and universities and colleges and K-12. This is not just liability protection for businesses. They’re included along with everyone else dealing with this brand new disease. Unless you’re grossly negligent or engage in intentional misbehavior, you’ll be covered. And it will be in a bill that passes the Senate.” (CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” 7/28/2020)


Schumer Knows Leader McConnell Offered This Compromise Because He Immediately Rejected It

SCHUMER:I want to address first what Senator McConnell has just said….  Leader McConnell has refused to be part of the negotiations--Leader McConnell has refused to be part of the bipartisan negotiations, and now he is sabotaging good-faith bipartisan negotiations because his partisan ideological effort is not getting a good reception. Senator McConnell is trying to pull the rug out from beneath the Gang of Eight. We believe they have been making good progress, and they ought to be allowed to move forward because they are the best hope for a bipartisan solution.” (Sen. Schumer, Press Conference, 12/08/2020)


Yet Democrats Refuse To Reciprocate Leader McConnell’s Compromise Offer, Demanding More Money For Big-Spending State Governments

SCHUMER: “I want address an incredibly false equivalency that has been drawn between two provisions: providing aid to state and local services, essential state and local services, and granting sweeping immunity to corporations who put their workers in harms’ way during this pandemic. … [T]he two policies are not remotely equivalent in terms of importance, or relevance to what’s going on in our country right now. When we talk about providing federal aid so that states don’t have to cut essential services, we’re talking about saving lives and we’re talking about saving jobs. ... The bottom line is: one provision solves a real problem in our country, the other does not. The two sides are not remotely equivalent and it’s not a ‘trade’ that makes any sense in terms of the well-being of the American people.” (Sen. Schumer, Remarks, 12/10/2020)

SCHUMER: “State and local aid is a solution to a real and urgent problem…. State and local budgets are deeply in the red.” (Sen. Schumer, Floor Remarks, 12/11/2020)


Meanwhile, States Keep Reporting Tax Revenues That Are HIGHER Than They Were In The Same Months Before The Pandemic

“Gov. Gavin Newsom’s upcoming state budget will assume California’s tax windfall is $15.5 billion, he said Tuesday during an event held by a technology industry trade group…. The report … also noted the total windfall could be between $12 billion and $40 billion once final tax receipts are collected.” (“California’s Tax Windfall Is $15.5 Billion, Newsom Tells Tech Industry Group,” Los Angeles Times, 12/08/2020)

“[A]lmost halfway into fiscal year 2021, [Massachusetts] tax collections are still running ahead of the pace set in fiscal 2020 and moved even further ahead last month. The Department of Revenue said it collected $2.124 billion from Massachusetts taxpayers in November, $31 million or 1.5 percent more than what was collected in November 2019, the agency said. Since the beginning of July, DOR has collected $11.464 billion in tax receipts for fiscal 2021 -- $142 million or 1.3 percent more than had been collected during the same time period in fiscal year 2020, which was before the pandemic.” (“Massachusetts Tax Revenue Eclipse Total For Last November Despite COVID-Driven Recession,” State House News Service, 12/03/2020)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “In case you hadn’t heard, states are experiencing a surge—of tax revenue. Politicians don’t want this good news to get out because they want more money from Congress. California recently reported that tax revenue for this fiscal year is running $9.9 billion (18.6%) above projections. Personal income tax revenue in October was $1 billion (15.6%) higher than in the previous October, and sales taxes were up 9.2%. For the last four months, overall revenue has exceeded spring forecasts and even 2019 collections…. A rebounding stock market—the Dow Jones Industrial Average has increased 16% since the beginning of July—has produced a gusher of revenue for blue states with sharply progressive tax systems.” (Editorial, “State Tax Revenue Rebound,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/16/2020)


Even Senior Senate Democrats Seem To Be Breaking From Sen. Schumer’s Intransigence

SENATE MINORITY WHIP DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “To hold [COVID relief] back because of some other major issue that has not been resolved is unfair to American families and workers and students and health workers. We owe it to them to do everything in our power to help them now.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S7293, 12/09/2020)

CNN’s JIM SCIUTTO: “Would you, would your colleagues vote for a plan that leaves those issues aside, state and local funding, liability protections and just gets money into the pockets of Americans that need it now?”
SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): “Well, of course, we want to see those things that you have said, those who need it now.” (CNN, 12/10/2020)



Related Issues: COVID-19, Senate Democrats