Pelosi Retreats Again After Senate Republicans Put Brakes On Liberal Wish List

After Republican Senators Emphasized That The Government Must First Make Sure The CARES Act Is Working And That Future Measures Must ‘Not Serve As A Grab Bag For [The Speaker’s] Liberal Wish List,’ Speaker Pelosi Changed Her Tone On New Coronavirus Response Legislation


‘Democrats Pivot’: ‘Speaker Nancy Pelosi Shifted Her Tone On Friday, Calling For A Much More Focused “Phase 4” Relief Package’

“There has been a noticeable shift in rhetoric in the last day or so. Democrats -- including Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- are now talking about phase four being much like phase three. In other words, more emergency measures are needed before consideration of infrastructure and other legislative initiatives. (This is what Republicans like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have pushed in recent days.) … This shift was evident during Pelosi’s appearance on CNBC with Jim Cramer and in a subsequent gaggle in the Capitol.” (“Democrats Pivot,” Politico’s Playbook PM, 4/03/2020)

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi shifted her tone on Friday, calling for a much more focused ‘Phase 4’ relief package to address immediate needs related to the coronavirus pandemic, a departure from the sprawling legislation she and other top Democrats were pushing earlier this week. Both in a television appearance and talking with reporters Friday, Pelosi said it's clear the next tranche of relief funds should be an expansion of the massive $2 trillion package the president signed into law last week — more money to aid states, cities and small businesses, expand unemployment benefits and another round of direct cash payments for Americans. ‘Let’s do the same bill we just did, make some changes to make it current,’ Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol Friday.” (“Pelosi Pivots On ‘Phase 4’ Coronavirus Relief Push,” Politico, 4/03/2020)

“That’s a noteworthy pivot for the California Democrat, who earlier has pressed goals such as a large public works measure and restoring a deduction for state and local tax payments.” (“In Pivot, Pelosi Sees Next Relief Bill With Bipartisan Goals,” The Associated Press, 4/03/2020)

“Earlier this week, Pelosi and top House Democrats were making a very different pitch — saying now was the time to think big and take a broad brush approach to addressing the economic downturn, pushing ideas like a massive infrastructure package to help jumpstart the economy.” (“Pelosi Pivots On ‘Phase 4’ Coronavirus Relief Push,” Politico, 4/03/2020)

  • “Pelosi’s pitch was met with staunch opposition from other senior Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). And privately, some Democrats have expressed concerns that such a broad plan risked alienating voters, especially if Republicans were able to convincingly claim Democrats were more focused on liberal priorities than addressing immediate coronavirus-related needs.” (“Pelosi Pivots On ‘Phase 4’ Coronavirus Relief Push,” Politico, 4/03/2020)


Leader McConnell:Remember, [The CARES Act] Was Only Signed Into Law Last [Week] … First, We Need To See What The Effect Of The Current Bill Is’

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Remember, this bill was only signed into law last [week]…. And the Speaker is already talking about another bill … I think first, we need to see what the effect of the current bill is. The Treasury, of course, is wrestling with all this complicated effort to speed checks to individuals and small businesses to get us through this period until the health care pandemic begins to subside. So I think we need to wait a few days here, a few weeks, and see how things are working out.” (The Hugh Hewitt Show, 3/31/2020)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): “I think there’s going to be a fourth package at some point in the future, a recovery package, but I think we have to get through this first. Obviously there’s always the prospect that this goes longer than any of us anticipated and we would go in and replenish, for example, the assistance of small business that’s in the bill. As far as the things that you just mentioned to me that Speaker Pelosi’s talking about, I mean, we need to -- we need to get through this first before we talk about all these new, legislative agendas and then -- and then sort of take stock to see, you know, what is it that our country needs to get stronger at, where it needs to recover. … But right now we’re at a different bridge. The bridge we’re at right now is bringing this infection under control, winning this battle and getting society open and everyone back to work. That’s the battle we’re focused on right now.” (Fox Business Network, 3/31/2020)

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): “My theory is simple. We just put $2.2 trillion into the market…. It would be really important for me to see how the … $2 trillion is impacting the market, impacting the average person in our country. How does it impact the person working every day of the week trying to make their paychecks meet? Those questions should be answered before we dive into phase four blindly.” (Fox News’ “Your World w/ Neil Cavuto,” 4/02/2020)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): “We just passed a $2 trillion emergency relief bill that is unprecedented in its size and scope. It's designed to help millions of Americans make it through this extraordinary -- the economic challenge that is caused by this global pandemic we're facing. I think we need to see what happens in terms of fighting the coronavirus in the next several weeks.” (Fox Business Network, 4/01/2020)

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): “I think we need to slow down here and be mindful of what we're doing and let's see if what we just did works. I think it will if we can get the money out to people.” (Fox News, 4/01/2020)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): “So the idea of creating phase four before you understand if phase three works doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m hoping that what we’re doing now in April and May will slow the disease down…. But before I want to talk about phase four, I want to make sure phase three works.” (Fox News, 3/31/2020)

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): “Before we jump into another massive bill, let’s take a deep breath.” (“Republicans Reject Pelosi’s Rapid Push For Next Rescue Package,” Politico, 4/01/2020)


Senate Republicans: ‘If It’s Necessary To Help Support Our Families And Our Businesses, We’ll Be Back In Session To Pass Another Bill, But Not To Pass Nancy Pelosi’s Wish List,’ We Shouldn’t Look At This As An Opportunity To Pass Our Political Outbox Or Ideological Agenda’

SEN. McCONNELL: “[The Speaker] needs to stand down on the notion that we’re going to go along with taking advantage of the crisis to do things that are unrelated to the crisis.” (“Pelosi Should ‘Stand Down’ On Passing Another Rescue Bill In House, McConnell Says,” The Washington Post, 4/01/2020)

SEN. TOOMEY: “[The Senate] should not allow Speaker Pelosi to use this as the opportunity to advance her partisan, parochial, liberal wish list.” (“Republicans Reject Pelosi’s Rapid Push For Next Rescue Package,” Politico, 4/01/2020)

SEN. SCOTT: “After wasting four days trying to pass the Green New Deal as part of the last coronavirus relief package, now Speaker Pelosi wants to hand out billions of dollars to millionaires… This is offensive to the American people, counterproductive to helping those most in need, and would never pass the Senate. Pandemic relief is supposed to help the American people, Speaker Pelosi, not serve as a grab bag for your liberal wish list.” (Sen. Tim Scott, Press Release, 3/31/2020)

  • SEN. SCOTT: “There’s no doubt that what Speaker Pelosi wants to do is make this a Christmas tree with lots and lots of ornaments. Think about her first attempt in the phase three, it included the Green New Deal, diversity quotas for corporate boards. She was looking to make sure that there was a carbon neutral footprint and airlines by 2025 as opposed to focusing on temporary targeted relief for the American people who’ve been devastated by the coronavirus. They were looking for their policy wish list. That is a bad start. The conversation cannot start with the political agenda of the left and has to focus specifically on how we take care of the American people during the COVID-19, and then what will steps will be necessary to recover. … That does not -- does not require us to have a conversation about the partisan politics of the left and what they want to sneak into the bill …” (Fox News, 3/31/2020)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “I think we shouldn’t look at this as an opportunity to pass our political outbox or ideological agenda. We ought to be all about solving the problem, and that is the public health problem and economic consequences associated with it. That ought to be our full focus.” (Sen. Cornyn, Press Release, 3/31/2020)

SEN. GRAHAM: “[I]f anybody puts a damn dime in phase four unrelated to the virus, they’re going to be very famous because … people are dying in this country. It’s not now time to do the Green New Deal. If there’s any Green New Deal stuff in phase four, if there is a phase four, there would be one hell of a fight because 2.2 million Americans’ lives are at risk here.” (Fox News, 3/31/2020)

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): “On phase 4, if there’s ways to help workers and small businesses, I want to hear it but I’m not interested in Nancy Pelosi’s pet projects, like the Green New Deal or cutting taxes for New York millionaires and billionaires. That’s not we’re going to do. We should be focused how do we stop the spread of this virus.” (CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” 3/31/2020)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): “Nancy Pelosi is a little grumpy because we refused to give in to her liberal wish list last week. She’s already about new legislation before the relief that we passed last week is even in the hands of American citizens because she failed to get that wish list. She’s not going to get at the next time either. If it’s necessary to help support our families and our businesses, we’ll be back in session to pass another bill, but not to pass Nancy Pelosi’s wish list.” (Fox News, 3/29/2020)

FOX NEWS’ BRIAN KILMEADE: “Absolutely. And they’re already talking about a fourth stimulus -- a fourth rescue plan. … Are you ready to write another big check?”
SEN. KENNEDY: “Well, number one, I’m not interested in any more of Speaker Pelosi’s spending porn, or any other member of Congress, for that matter. Number two, we just spent, with the leverage, $4 trillion. We ought to see if it works. Number three, with the leverage, we just spent $4 trillion. That’s not Louisiana ditch water we’re spending, that’s taxpayer money. That’s 4,000 billion dollars. We have to pay it back. We borrowed it.” (Fox News, 4/01/2020)

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): “I mean, I think, first of all, what [Pelosi] wanted to do was to add a lot to this legislation that was just passed, the CARES legislation, that had nothing to do with the coronavirus, per se. It was part of a wish list, as you know, and in part things that related to stimulus that you would want to do once the health crisis is behind us, because, right now, as long as you have the crisis in effect, you’re going to have the economic fallout that we have seen. But when you see the crisis, the health crisis be addressed, when we begin to see some better numbers, when we begin to see fewer, not more cases day to day, that’s the time to start looking at, well, how do we now stimulate the economy?” (Fox News, 3/31/2020)

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA) SPOKESPERSON: “This is a nonstarter. Millionaires don’t need a new tax break as the federal government spends trillions of dollars to fight a pandemic.” (“Grassley Rips Pelosi Bid To Roll Back Deduction Cap: ‘Millionaires Don’t Need A New Tax Break,” Fox News, 3/31/2020)



Related Issues: Health Care, Jobs, Small Business, Appropriations, Green New Deal