Fight Breaks Out As GOP Members Turn On Mitch McConnell Over COVID-19 Response
The Republican party has descended in to chaos with a full-blown revolt erupting among GOP ranks over Sen. Mitch McConnell’s response to the latest financial package designed to help Americans through the raging coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader McConnell wants to hold off on any more large stimulus packages that can help keep the economy afloat, but other senators want more money for their desperate constituents as the election looms.
“The economic havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic is opening up a rift in the Republican Party — as the Trump administration and some GOP senators advocate for more aggressive spending while senior party leaders say now may be the time to start scaling back,” writes WaPo.
“In rapid fashion, Congress approved nearly $3 trillion in fresh federal spending to combat the public health and economic damage from the coronavirus since its dangers came into sharper focus earlier this year,” the report continues. “But the coming battle over spending is not solely partisan. It is also stirring a debate among Republicans about how substantial the package should be and whether concerns about debt are misplaced at a time of economic crisis, when the government continues to be able to borrow at rock-bottom prices.”
“GOP leaders now find themselves struggling with how to balance the need to prop up the struggling economy ahead of the fall’s elections with concerns that too much spending could hurt them with their base of voters,” the Post notes, “Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), a rising star in the national party, is promoting an ambitious plan that would require the federal government to shoulder 80 percent of U.S. employees’ wages up to the national median wage. His proposal also calls for the government to offer bonuses for employers to rehire those who have been recently laid off.”
According to Michael Steel who served as a top aide to then-House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH), the Republican Party, long opposed to spending and deficits, is in a bind.
“Concerns about federal deficits and debts are being swamped by the scale of the crisis right now, but when our economy rebounds, they will return as a serious issue for voters,” explained Steel. “As we saw after 2008 and 2009, paroxysms of federal spending tend to spawn ferocious blowback.”
McConnell is also at the center of the battle after proposing states simply file bankruptcy instead of depending on a federal bailout, with the Post reporting, “McConnell’s remarks prompted an angry backlash from both Republican and Democratic governors seeking a substantial infusion of federal aid who dismissed the argument that they had mismanaged their state’s finances.”
“My initial thought honestly was, I didn’t agree with that approach,” explained Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), with the Post reporting she warned of the ‘devastating impact’ if states and local governments were forced into mass layoffs.”
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