House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday called for Senate Republicans not to include any “poison pills” in the third phase of coronavirus relief legislation.
The warning came a day after the speaker received harsh criticism from many GOP senators for including Green New Deal initiatives, labor union reforms, early-voting law changes and other provisions that they said had no relationship to responding to the coronavirus outbreak in her proposed House legislation.
Pelosi sounded hopeful a deal could be reached despite major differences between Senate and House legislation.
“I think there is real optimism that we could get something done in the next few hours,” Pelosi told CNBC’s Jim Cramer in a phone interview on “Squawk on the Street.”
However, the speaker added that Republicans must not include “poison pills” in their legislation — i.e., items they know Democrats could not back.
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“If it has poison pills in it — and they know certain things are poison pills — then they don’t want unanimous consent, they just want an ideological statement,” Pelosi said.
She accused Senate Republicans of trying to help “corporate America,” but said Democrats are “about the workers.”
She referred to a $500 billion “slush fund” that would be overseen by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to help distressed businesses weather the coronavirus outbreak storm.
The speaker said “big progress” had been made in negotiations to ensure such a fund would have proper congressional oversight.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday of holding up the third phase of coronavirus relief legislation to add Green New Deal initiatives.
He said the House plan calls for new emission standards for airlines, as well as tax credits for use of solar and wind energy.
“Are you kidding me?” the Kentucky Republican said with anger in his voice. “This is the moment to debate new regulations that have nothing whatsoever to do with this crisis?”
McConnell continued, “Democrats won’t let us fund hospitals or save small businesses unless they get to dust off the Green New Deal.”
“They are holding up legislation that will literally keep people on the payroll because Democrat special interest friends want to squeeze these employers while they’re vulnerable,” he said.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas also unloaded on Democrats for seeking to include many unrelated items in coronavirus legislation.
“Never let a good crisis go to waste,” he said, quoting a famous line from former Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel during the 2008 financial market meltdown.
“What the hell do the emissions standards on airplanes have to do with thousands of people dying and millions of people out of work in the Coronavirus epidemic?” Cruz asked.
Sen. @tedcruz UNLOADS on Dems from the Senate floor:
“What the hell do the emissions standards on airplanes have to do with thousands of people dying and millions of people out of work in the Coronavirus epidemic?” pic.twitter.com/zXiQjJRpRA
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) March 23, 2020
“They’re willing to extort a crisis to advance their political agenda,” he added.
Cruz also hit Democrats for trying to include mandates for “corporate board diversity.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, like McConnell, accused Democrats of including Green New Deal proposals, as well as new labor union provisions and new voting law requirements, in their coronavirus legislation.
Nancy Pelosi is prioritizing the Green New Deal over rescue aid for American families and small businesses.
Pelosi tanked bipartisan negotiations to push solar and wind tax credits.
What in the world does that have to do with COVID-19?! pic.twitter.com/QBcv1Yxixm
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) March 24, 2020
“This has nothing to do with the small business owner figuring out if they are going to lay people off or they’re going to be able to meet payroll,” she said.
“New emission standards for the airlines. Let me tell you something: Wanting to make the airline industry carbon neutral by 2025, let’s have the debate another day,” Blackburn added.
“Right now keeping the planes flying is the issue,” she added. “Common sense would go a long way in these discussions.”
House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina said last week during a Democratic caucus conference call, “This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision,” a source on the call told The Hill.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday that he will not approve of Democrats’ last-minute ideological demands.
This is not about the ridiculous Green New Deal. It is about putting our great workers and companies BACK TO WORK!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2020
“This is not about the ridiculous Green New Deal,” he added in another tweet. “It is about putting our great workers and companies BACK TO WORK!”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.