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President Trump has ordered a clampdown on price-gouging during the COVID-19 national emergency. “Very simply, we will not allow anyone to exploit the suffering of American citizens for their own profit,” Trump said Monday. “So we’re going to be watching that with our great attorney general very closely.”
The Trump administration should launch a similar action, this time against vote-gouging. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., should be his first suspect.
Like a retailer charging $75 for a $5 bottle of Purell, Pelosi hogtied Congress for nearly an entire week in a despicable bid for windfall political profits, even as thousands of Americans lay sick and hundreds died.
The Senate seemed poised to pass a bipartisan $2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill last Sunday to provide medical and economic assistance to Americans who, through no fault of their own, are being terrorized by the coronavirus – a killer microbe now on a rampage from sea to shining sea.
But when Nervous Nancy jetted from San Francisco into Washington, all hell erupted.
Pelosi unveiled a 1,404-page measure and importuned Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York to brandish its provisions as the cost for House approval of any Senate coronavirus bill.
In other words, as COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus – damaged the lungs of American citizens and the U.S. economy, Pelosi hiked the price of House votes for a bill to cure and comfort 330 million of her countrymen.
Schumer dutifully launched a Democratic filibuster that turned Sunday’s much-anticipated presidential signature on a new law into a waiting game that continues even now. Thanks to Pelosi’s shenanigans, the American people’s pain continues unabated.
Pelosi’s scandalous misbehavior was stunningly ideological. A USA Today headline called her bill “liberal Christmas in March.”
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky dubbed it “a left-wing episode of Supermarket Sweep.” Pelosi’s proposal was clogged with fantasy items seemingly concocted in the Oberlin College faculty lounge:
$35 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.
$300 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Debt forgiveness for the U.S. Postal Service.
Tax credits for solar panels and windmills.
Emissions regulations for airlines.
Guaranteed seats for Big Labor on corporate boards,
New rules on “the diversity of depository institutions.”
Corporate information requirements on “work-life balance initiatives.”
Corporate reporting mandates on employees’ “gender, race, and ethnic identity.”
Comparative statistics on company pay “amongst racial and ethnic minorities (and to the extent possible, results disaggregated by ethnic group) as compared to their white counterparts” and “between men and women for similar roles and assignments.”
Scarier still, Pelosi’s micromanaging bill would have made her America’s precinct captain in chief.
Starting with this November’s election, Pelosi wanted every state that accepted COVID-19 relief money to guarantee at least 14 days of early voting; absentee ballots mailed to all registered voters, whether requested or not; a ban on voter ID cards; prohibition of notarization or witness signatures to authenticate absentee ballots; free return postage on such ballots; and self-sealing envelopes for same.
Pelosi’s ransom note included “ballot harvesting,” whereby one person may submit absentee ballots, on behalf of relatives, friends and God knows whom else. Furthermore, states “may not put any limit on how many voted and sealed absentee ballots any designated person can return.” What could go wrong?
Pelosi also demanded same-day voter registration, so people could walk into the polls on Election Day and sign up and vote. Gone would be any time to verify a person’s identity, residency, or (rather important) U.S. citizenship. If Americans must endure eligibility-confirming waiting periods before buying guns, why prohibit similar intervals before casting ballots?
All of this selfish Democratic foolishness cremated crucial time, while COVID-19 never even napped.
“The answer from our friends on the other side of the aisle is delay, delay, delay,” übermoderate Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, complained. “No sense of urgency, no hurry.”
“In the United States, as of this morning, there were 471 deaths reported due to coronavirus,” a disgusted Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told his colleagues Monday. “As of right now, it’s 573. That means today, 102 Americans died while the Democrats were blocking consideration of this bill.”
Even the so-called “Paper of Record” exposed the villains in this tragicomedy. “Democrats block $1.7 trillion stimulus bill,” explained the New York Times headline Sunday.
Of course, since those words embarrassed the party of which this propaganda rag is a dangling appendage, this truth proved unfit to print. So that online headline swiftly became “Democrats block $1.7 trillion stimulus bill, citing worker concerns.” But even that too accurately pinned blame right where it belonged.
So the Old Gray Lady declared Republicans and Democrats equally responsible for inaction: “Partisan Divide Threatens Deal on Rescue Plan.”
Pelosi then had the raging chutzpah Tuesday to threaten that the House would block the Senate bill “if it has poison pills in it.” Never mind that her legislation was laced with arsenic.
After public revulsion, the Senate late Wednesday considered a compromise purged of Pelosi’s excesses, although some pro-union goodies and $25 million for the Kennedy Center survived negotiations. This bill passed 96-0. The House weighs in Friday.
While the left excoriates President Trump’s early COVID-19 response, when this disease’s course and effects were unclear, liberals remain as silent as Manhattan’s streets are now about Democrats’ unforgivable sloth this week, now that COVID-19’s epidemiological and economic devastation is obvious in vivid, hideous, living color.
Absent Pelosi and filibustering Senate Democrats’ sabotage, this relief could have cleared Congress Sunday. Even assuming House passage Friday, Democrats will have extended America’s pain for five days.
For COVID-19 patients desperate for ventilators, this needless delay could spell the difference between respiration and asphyxiation.
Democratic exploitation of America’s suffering would invite criminal scrutiny if Pelosi and Schumer gouged the price of face masks. But since they gouged the price of their colleagues’ yeas and nays, federal prosecutors are powerless. However, come November, Americans voters should give Democrats the full dose of justice that they deserve.
Bucknell University’s Michael Malarkey contributed research to this opinion piece.