By U.S. Congressman Billy Long (MO-7th District)
Like Yogi Berra famously stated, “it’s like déjà vu all over again.” This week in Washington, instead of working with Republicans to produce a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package that would address our current health and economic crisis, Speaker Pelosi has us voting on two of her top priorities. One is for the legalization of marijuana and the other is a ban on the private ownership of lions and tigers. While everyone knows we are undoubtedly experiencing the greatest health crisis in our lifetime, Speaker Pelosi has made it clear she’s once again unwilling to work with Republicans to deliver a COVID-19 relief package for struggling families and businesses because she, in the words of Rahm Emanuel, “cannot let a serious crisis go to waste.” On a day where it was just announced there are currently 100,226 people hospitalized with COVID-19, we now find ourselves debating legislation that has been championed by a character from Netflix’s “Tiger King” series and one pushed by the burgeoning marijuana industry.
This latest stunt proves that Speaker Pelosi is greatly out of touch with the needs of Americans across the country. The Republicans just flipped 14 Congressional seats from blue to red in large part because the public is tired of the lack of bipartisanship the Speaker has fostered over the last two years. She has consistently placed partisan interests ahead of delivering desperately needed assistance to our fellow citizens. All of this on the heels of her leadership resulting in the fact that she will be presiding over the smallest Majority in the House of Representatives that any Speaker has had for decades in this upcoming Congress. Hospitals are overflowing, people are dying, and small businesses are failing; we cannot waste valuable time voting on legislation that will do nothing to alleviate this crisis. For months, Speaker Pelosi and her party have actively blocked a bipartisan package, while exploiting this crisis to move their true priorities forward. Americans desperately need another round of the Paycheck Protection Program for some of the hardest hit businesses and their employees that are living paycheck to paycheck along with extensions of other critical aspects of the CARES Act that have dried up. The American people and the businesses who have managed to survive cannot afford to wait while the Speaker wastes valuable time on legislation that can wait, nor can they afford to wait for Democrats to abandon their obstructionist and partisan agenda to work on meaningful and clean relief.
The Speaker has spent the entire summer and fall gambling with the health and livelihoods of the American people in hopes the elections would hand her the power she so desperately craves, but her obstructionism backfired. While Pelosi lost House seats and leverage, the virus continued to surge from coast to coast, and the American people have gone without aid during this most critical hour because of the Democrats’ deeply selfish and misguided decision.
While Pelosi aims to save the tigers this week and continues to appeal to far-left extremists, Republicans are focused on addressing the needs of struggling Americans immediately. Though the Speaker recently commented that “COVID relief is long overdue,” her actions betray her words and reveal her true intentions. One thing has become clear throughout the pandemic: The Republican party is committed to delivering immediate relief to the American people and small businesses, and the Democrats are focused on their own political interests. Bills that legalize marijuana or ban the ownership of large cats should not take precedent over relief for a global pandemic, and the Republican party will not stop until the American people have the tools they need to weather this storm.
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