If only one thing is abundantly clear regarding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s latest spending package, the HEROES Act, it is that the bill was never designed to actually pass. This 1,815-page testament to Democratic Party ideals appears to be little more than the opening gambit in a politically-charged negotiation strategy that can be used as leverage for future gains. So why are Republicans even taking it seriously?
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, sets forth an eye-watering $3 trillion in spending ostensibly portrayed as a necessary step on the road to economic recovery. Why then does it include a wish list of progressive action points and barbs aimed directly at President Trump?
Gotchas and Grabs
The Act provides protections for inspector generals from being fired for anything other than a very specific set of reasons, including incapacitation and felony convictions. Coming hot on the heels of the ousting of the acting Pentagon inspector general, Glenn Fine, it seems that this is an attempt to limit the president’s ability to remove those he deems unfit from their positions.
Quite what this has to do with rebuilding the economy or protecting Americans (other than inspector generals) from economic hardship is not clear.
And in what way does the establishment of hate crime hotlines help with getting America back on its feet after the pandemic eventually fades? Grants will be made available to jurisdictions to tackle and report on hate crimes with the proviso that they set up hotlines, engage in community awareness activities, and file reports on what they are doing to tackle the issue. Again, this may protect the jobs of diversity officers, but in the grand scheme, it appears a waste of resources during a time of crisis.
It should be noted that the hate crime aspects have some bipartisan support, but not when stuffed into this package.
A Political Smorgasbord
Along with the clearly partisan, there are also measures that would, in fact, aid in the recovery process. Ignoring the elements on DACA, immigration, hate crimes, arts spending, student debt forgiveness, and the all-important swipes at the president, this Act actually has real policies that would assist working Americans.
Unfortunately, Democrat lawmakers have decided not to offer a pick and choose buffet, but rather a prix fixe dinner with no off-menu orders allowed. They know it can’t possibly pass the Senate, and have therefore added every little penchant and whim their minds can conceive.
The Art of the Deal?
Has Nancy Pelosi been reading President Trump’s business manual, The Art of the Deal? One of the most memorable aspects of this book is that when negotiating, you should ask for everything, the more outrageous, the better.
This Act was never intended to pass. From the very first, it was dead in the Senate waters. Republican lawmakers had already balked at issuing another relief package before the impact of the last could be measured and assessed, so what was Pelosi thinking?
It seems there are two strategies at play, the first being to start from a high position from which you can be bargained down. The second is far more political: each refusal from the GOP is ammunition that can be spent before the November election. Instead of making law, Democrats are stockpiling partisan ammo for a war that the left-leaning media won’t even admit is afoot.
Read more from Mark Angelides.