March 26, 2020
Pelosi Puts Texas Republicans in Deeper Hole
with Monumental Coronavirus Bill Power Play
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
Texas Democrats have received a critical momentum injection in their bid to turn the state blue with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's emergence as the clear-cut champion in the epic congressional clash on a coronavirus emergency plan that Republicans had accused her of trying to sabotage.
The veteran California lawmaker celebrated her 80th birthday on Thursday in the afterglow of the hardball heroics that culminated in a unanimous Senate vote late Wednesday night on the stimulus package that represented a victory for American workers at the expense of big corporate interests.
While the general election couldn't be any more unpredictable at this point in time, the consequences of Pelosi's actions could give the Democrats in Texas a substantial boost in their quest for a state House majority and a win at the top of the ticket here for the first time in almost four dozen years.
Pelosi had been the number one whipping post for the GOP in the Lone Star State as the most powerful Democrat in America for the past three years. Texas Republicans from U.S. Senator Ted Cruz to the party's nominees in targeted congressional districts had escalated their attacks on the House leader as the week progressed with the collective assertion that she'd attempt to turn the economic rescue measure into a grab bag for liberal priorities in a power play that prolonged the nation's suffering from the deadliest pandemic in modern history.
U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy - one of the speaker's fellow California residents - branded Pelosi as a liar on Thursday for portraying the Senate legislation as a win for the Democrats. But the Republicans who'd been attacking her relentlessly in Texas all week were uncharacteristically mum today in apparent recognition that attempts to diminish her efforts in the Senate vote wake would have the effect of confirming that she'd outmaneuvered her GOP counterparts in Washington.
McCarthy ran the risk of looking like a sore loser with the angry denial that was an even harder sell in light of the fact that every Republican on the Senate floor had voted for the COVID-19 plan that will be the single most expensive piece of legislation in U.S. history after Pelosi guides through the lower house of Congress with potential pockets of dissent on the far right and left. The Senate endorsed the $2 trillion stimulus package on a 96-0 vote. Four Senate Republicans were absent after testing positive for the coronavirus or being quarantined voluntarily after being exposed to the deadly disease.
Pelosi stole the spotlight from President Donald Trump with a position that was based on medical science and the premise that Americans who'd lost their jobs needed the government's help more than major corporations that had been the chief beneficiaries of a federal bailout in 2008.
While the White House had been involved in the negotiations on the compromise plan that cleared the Senate in a highly-rare show of bipartisan unity, Trump managed to distract attention from his administration's role in the legislation's shaping with intensified claims of a coronavirus conspiracy aimed at his ouster this fall. Trump blamed a collapsing economy on fake news that Democrats had fueled in a bid to undermine his re-election race.
But Trump can expect for the Pelosi shine to lose substantial luster if his plan to have the economy back on track with the resumption of life as normal in America by the Easter weekend two weeks from now. The GOP's hopes for keeping Texas red and retaining control in the west wing of the state Capitol will be set back even more if the president has set the state for a major letdown by raising expectations to an unreasonable level.
more to come ...