March 23, 2020
GOP Congress Hopefuls Face Possible Push Back
with Pelosi Slams on Topics Sensitive for President
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
A pair of Republican challengers in targeted Texas congressional races appeared to be setting themselves up for potential backlash when they opened rhetorical fire on the nation's highest-ranking Democrat in connection with the coronavirus crisis on subjects that have been recent sore spots for President Donald Trump.
GOP nominees Genevieve Collins of Dallas and Wesley Hunt of Houston waded into perilous waters when they expressed outrage over an emergency package that Democratic U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled on Monday with a $2.5 trillion price tag and restrictions on corporate bailouts as a product of the COVID-19 response.
Hunt and Collins - who are taking aim this fall at freshman Democratic U.S. Reps. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher and Colin Allred respectively - ran the risk of appearing naive when they accused Pelosi of playing partisan politics in an arena where both parties have been guilty of doing so on a daily basis for several decades.
Hunt ventured out on a slippery slope first when he contended that Pelosi and Fletcher had been enemies of the oil business in the United States without mentioning that Trump is starting to come under fire from domestic energy producers for a lack of interest or action in the face of plunging prices that could culminate in massive job losses and company failures.
An increasing number of industry executives are asserting that the president turned his back on them when he declined to use the influence that he claims to have with Saudi Arabia to prevent a collapse in negotiations with Russia on a deal that would have stabilized oil prices that have been plummeting this month.
Trump reportedly endorsed the Saudi plan to increase oil production to muscle the Russians out of markets where the two had been competitive. Trump apparently was led to believe that the glut wouldn't hurt the industry in the U.S. like it has since the cost of oil was effectively cut in half.
After appearing to be domestic producers' most valuable supporter as recently as last fall, Trump has welcomed lower prices at the gasoline pump that free-falling crude oil costs have brought about. Trump has given the appearance that he thinks cheaper gasoline have more than offset the damage that producers are starting to suffer as the flip side of the tradeoff.
A former combat pilot who won an endorsement from Trump en route to a primary victory this month in a field with five foes in Congressional District 7, Hunt berated the Democrats' positions on the energy sector while accusing Pelosi of sweetening the coronavirus counter proposal with elements of an agenda that has nothing to do with the public health emergency. Hunt portrayed Fletcher as a rubber-stamp for Pelosi.
Fletcher and Allred won tickets to Congress in 2018 when they ousted longtime Republican incumbents in districts where Hunt and Collins are seeking payback for the GOP in November.
"Fletcher immediately broke her promise by voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House—giving Pelosi the power to set the agenda in Congress, and now we are seeing the consequences, whether it’s putting politics before coronavirus relief or attacking America’s oil and gas industry," Hunt declared. "Even today, as Pelosi sabotages relief for the thousands of Americans impacted by COVID-19 by injecting partisan, liberal priorities that have nothing to do with the crisis such as required same day voter registration, unprecedented collective bargaining rights for unions and a taxpayer giveaway to Pelosi's pet renewable energy projects, Fletcher refuses to denounce Pelosi’s behavior."
Collins might have raised eyebrows even more when she argued that Pelosi had torpedoed a spirt of unity in Washington and America in general with an attempt to transform the stimulus bill into a pork barrel pot for liberals. But Collins appeared to be tuning out a wail of criticism that's been directed at the White House for Trump's anemic initial response to a coronavirus threat that he branded as a Democrat-concocted media hoax less than a month ago.
"Our country needs decisive and calm action," Collins said.
"I am truly heartbroken by this Democratic leadership taking advantage of the stimulus bill and more importantly STALLING in fulfilling the needs of hardworking Americans," Collins said. "This is not a time for party politics. This is a time for rational, compassionate, transparent communication and action. I will always pledge that to you. You deserve it."
Collins and Hunt neglected to point out, however, that Pelosi rolled out the new proposal after a compromise plan that GOP leaders had been pushing failed in the Senate on Monday for the second time in two days. The congressional hopeful also didn't mention that the Pelosi alternative would provide individual Americans with $1,500 more than the original package that's stalled in the Senate.