You have to wonder if the people of Kentucky are paying attention.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that he’s in “constant communication” with the White House about the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic but that there isn’t yet a need for Congress to pass additional legislation…
“I don’t think we have yet felt the urgency of acting immediately. That time could develop, but I don’t think it has yet,” McConnell added.
I have no idea what it would take for McConnell to feel a sense of urgency, but on a national level, the U.S. is fast approaching the marker of 100,000 people dead from COVID-19, with over 30 million people unemployed. Closer to McConnell’s home, a recent White House report named Central City, KY as one of the nation’s new hot spots, with a 650 percent increase in the number of coronavirus cases.
If McConnell thinks that the economy will simply surge back once states ease their restrictions on businesses, he’s probably wrong.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell gave a dire warning Wednesday that the U.S. economy could become stuck in a painful multiyear recession if Congress and the White House do not authorize more aid to address the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout.
“Additional fiscal support could be costly but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery,” Powell said in a videoconference with the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Still, none of that creates a sense of urgency for the Senate Majority Leader. He refuses to take up the bill passed by the House that, among other things, would authorize another stimulus check for workers and extend the expanded unemployment insurance. McConnell dismissed provisions like that as nothing more than a grab bag of “pet priorities.” Apparently the only thing McConnell views as urgent is his desire to grant immunity protections to businesses that are reopening.
Here is how one Democratic Senator responded.
90 thousand dead and Depression-level unemployment across the country, and Mcconnell has no COVID19 related legislation on the Senate Floor this week, last week, or the week before. He says he doesn’t feel a sense of urgency. Elections have consequences.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) May 19, 2020
As you know, McConnell will be on the ballot this November. Public Policy Polling just found that his approval rating in his home state remains under water—41 percent approve and 48 percent disapprove of the job he is doing. But even more significantly, the majority leader only has a three point advantage in a head-to-head match-up with a generic Democrat. That’s in a state Trump won with a 30-point margin over Clinton in 2016.
The primary to chose which Democrat will run against McConnell is scheduled for June 23rd. The person most likely to win is Amy McGrath, who is taking a pretty different approach to dealing with the current crisis.
For the nation to strike a blow against the way that McConnell has undermined our democracy, all the people of Kentucky have to do is vote for the person who supports them during this time of crisis. That would be a win-win for all of us.