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Reich writes: "Senate Republicans’ shameful priorities are on full display as the nation continues to grap­ple with an unprece­dent­ed health and eco­nom­ic crisis."

McConnell's response to the pandemic? He urges lawmakers to be 'cautious' about helping struggling Americans. (photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty)
McConnell's response to the pandemic? He urges lawmakers to be 'cautious' about helping struggling Americans. (photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty)

How Mitch McConnell's Republicans Are Destroying America

By Robert Reich, In These Times

13 August 20

While a lethal pandemic and economic crisis wreak havoc on working families, McConnell and the GOP are dead set on protecting business interests and enriching the wealthy.

en­ate Repub­li­cans’ shame­ful pri­or­i­ties are on full dis­play as the nation con­tin­ues to grap­ple with an unprece­dent­ed health and eco­nom­ic crisis.

Mitch McConnell and the GOP refuse to take up the HEROES Act, passed by the House in ear­ly May to help Amer­i­cans sur­vive the pan­dem­ic and for­ti­fy the upcom­ing election. 

Sen­ate Repub­li­cans don’t want to extend the extra $600 a week in unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits, even though unem­ploy­ment has soared to the high­est lev­els since the Great Depression.

Even before the pan­dem­ic, near­ly 80 per­cent of Amer­i­cans lived pay­check to pay­check. Now many are des­per­ate, as revealed by length­en­ing food lines and grow­ing delin­quen­cies in rent payments. 

McConnell’s response? He urges law­mak­ers to be “cau­tious” about help­ing strug­gling Amer­i­cans, warn­ing that “the amount of debt that we’re adding up is a mat­ter of gen­uine concern.” 

McConnell seems to for­get the $1.9 tril­lion tax cut he engi­neered in Decem­ber 2017 for big cor­po­ra­tions and the super-rich, which blew up the deficit. 

That’s just the begin­ning of the GOP’s hand­outs for cor­po­ra­tions and the wealthy. As soon as the pan­dem­ic hit, McConnell and Sen­ate Repub­li­cans were quick to give mega-cor­po­ra­tions a $500 bil­lion blank check, while only send­ing Amer­i­cans a pal­try one-time $1,200 check.

The GOP seems to believe that the rich will work hard­er if they receive more mon­ey while peo­ple of mod­est means work hard­er if they receive less. In real­i­ty, the rich con­tribute more to Repub­li­can cam­paigns when they get bailed out.

That’s pre­cise­ly why the GOP put into the last Covid relief bill a $170 bil­lion wind­fall to Jared Kush­n­er and oth­er real estate moguls, who line the GOP’s cam­paign cof­fers. Anoth­er $454 bil­lion of the pack­age went to back­ing up a Fed­er­al Reserve pro­gram that ben­e­fits big busi­ness by buy­ing up their debt.

And although the bill was also intend­ed to help small busi­ness­es, lob­by­ists con­nect­ed to Trump – includ­ing cur­rent donors and fundrais­ers for his reelec­tion – helped their clients rake in over $10 bil­lion of the aid, while an esti­mat­ed 90 per­cent of small busi­ness­es owned by peo­ple of col­or and women got nothing.

The GOP’s shame­ful pri­or­i­ties have left count­less small busi­ness­es with no choice but to close. They’ve also left 22 mil­lion Amer­i­cans unem­ployed, and 28 mil­lion at risk of being evict­ed by September. 

For the bulk of this cri­sis, McConnell called the Sen­ate back into ses­sion only to con­firm more of Trump’s extrem­ist judges and advance a $740 bil­lion defense spend­ing bill. 

Through­out it all, McConnell has insist­ed his pri­or­i­ty is to shield busi­ness­es from Covid-relat­ed law­suits by cus­tomers and employ­ees who have con­tract­ed the virus.

The inept and over­whelm­ing­ly cor­rupt reign of Trump, McConnell, and Sen­ate Repub­li­cans will come to an end next Jan­u­ary if enough Amer­i­cans vote this com­ing November.

But will enough peo­ple vote dur­ing a pan­dem­ic? The HEROES Act pro­vides $3.6 bil­lion for states to expand mail-in and ear­ly vot­ing, but McConnell and his GOP lack­eys aren’t inter­est­ed. They’re well aware that more vot­ers increase the like­li­hood Repub­li­cans will be boot­ed out.

Time and again, they’ve shown that they only care about their wealthy donors and cor­po­rate back­ers. If they had an ounce of con­cern for the nation, their pri­or­i­ty would be to shield Amer­i­cans from the rav­ages of Covid and Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy from the rav­ages of Trump. But we know where their pri­or­i­ties lie. your social media marketing partner
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