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House Republicans want to cure COVID with ... tax cuts

But they don’t want to invest in tracing, testing, and treatment to help fight the coronavirus.

By Josh Israel - October 26, 2020
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Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

House Republicans claimed on Monday that they, not House Democrats, have the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic: more tax cuts and corporate welfare.

In a tweeted video, the minority side of the House Ways and Means Committee claimed that a bill from ranking member Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy “bolsters @HouseGOP’s #CommitmentToAmerica.”

“Democrats have passed bills that make their priorities very clear,” the video claims. “Spoiler alert… it’s NOT about FIGHTING CORONAVIRUS.”

Instead, the 36-second clip suggests, the GOP’s Commitment to American Growth Act would provide the “action” Americans deserve.

But the GOP video does not reveal a plan that’s focused on stopping the pandemic; instead, it claims the bill is about “Jobs & Wages,” “Supporting American job creators,” “Medical independence from China,” and “Winning the innovation race.”

In a press release earlier this month announcing the legislation, Brady and McCarthy (R-CA) noted that their bill “locks in key provisions of the successful Trump Tax Cuts to boost American jobs and paychecks” and provides new tax cuts and incentives to American manufacturers.

“As our nation continues to make significant strides toward defeating Covid, we must simultaneously work to rebuild the greatest economy of our generation,” McCarthy wrote. “But building back isn’t enough – we have to implement pro-growth policies that will guarantee America’s citizens unprecedented prosperity.”

The press release contains a link to a separate page about the GOP’s work in the “fight against Coronavirus,” but again, there’s no indication of how any provision in the bill is about curbing the pandemic.

Some parts of Donald Trump’s 2017 Tax Cut & Jobs Act — which slashed tax rates for the very wealthy and corporations, while actually raising taxes on about 10 million families — were temporary and this proposal would extend them.

Contrary to Republican claims, that legislation did little to boost the economy. Even before the pandemic ransacked the economy, job growth was faster over the last three years of Obama’s administration than the first three years of Trump’s.

The House’s Democratic majority has, in fact, passed major legislation aimed at controlling the virus. They passed legislation in May that would have provided $75 billion in new funding for coronavirus treatment, tracing, and testing — along with child care and hazard pay for America’s essential workers and emergency exposure controls to protect them on the job.

McCarthy, Brady, and nearly every other House Republican opposed this legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues have blocked the bill for the past five months, not even giving it a vote.

In August, McConnell bragged about his inaction, saying that doing nothing “allowed us to learn the coronavirus didn’t mysteriously disappear. It’s still here.”

On Oct. 15, McConnell (R-KY) rejected calls from Democrats, and even Trump, for a relief bill of more than $1.8 trillion.

“What I will put on the floor is a highly targeted half a trillion dollars, that’s a lot of money,” he told reporters. “I’m putting on the floor what we think is appropriate to tackle the disease.” Democrats dismissed McConnell’s efforts as “woefully insufficient” and have repeatedly blocked his “skinny” proposal.

A New York Times/Sienna College poll last week found 72% of like American voters support a $2 trillion relief package, versus just 21% opposed. Even among Republicans, 56% support a plan like the one the House Democrats have proposed.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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