Pelosi frustrates press by refusing to explain her sudden support for smaller COVID relief bill
Given the cover provided by the mainstream media for the past several months, one really cannot blame President-elect Joe Biden or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for thinking they can skirt having to answer tough questions about COVID-19 or other issues.
But now with the election over, and Biden seemingly coasting into the White House, the media, while not exactly taking them off, has loosened its gloves a bit.
On Sunday, when it seemed House and Senate leaders from both parties were applying finishing touches to a $900-billion COVID relief package, Pelosi found that reporters are suddenly interested in why she’s supporting a much smaller deal than the Trump administration offered just two months ago – even as she claimed the current version was inadequate.
In October, after the House had passed a $2.2 trillion COVID plan, a key feature of which involved bailing out fiscally inept blue states and cities, Pelosi snubbed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s offer of a $1.8 trillion package. The House’s top Democrat called the proposal “grossly inadequate,” adding that, “This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back.”
Back then, the House’s top Democrat even accused reliable liberals Andrea Mitchell of NBC News and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer of essentially being shills for the GOP for daring to ask about why she rejected Mnuchin.
Things changed in early December, when Pelosi signaled why she had come around on the current plan.
She cited Biden’s election as a “game-changer,” and that the announcement of the vaccine was a factor as well.
“I’m going to tell you something,” Pelosi told reporters on Dec. 4, “Don’t characterize what we did before as a mistake, as a preface to your question, if you want an answer. That was not a mistake. It was a decision, and it has taken us to a place where we can do the right thing without other, shall we say, considerations in the legislation that we don’t want.”
Now, according to CNN’s Manu Raju, she won’t even discuss her recent flexibility.
Pelosi wouldn’t answer my question about why the $900 billion deal is more acceptable to her than the $1.8 trillion offer Mnuchin made to her this fall.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 21, 2020
“Pelosi wouldn’t answer my question about why the $900 billion deal is more acceptable to her than the $1.8 trillion offer Mnuchin made to her this fall,” Raju said.
“Pelosi wouldn’t call on me at the press conference, which is becoming a pattern, even though just five reporters were there. She left the press conference as I asked her the question. And she ignored my question in the hallway as well.”
“Asked again in the hallways why this proposal is more acceptable than the Mnuchin plan, Pelosi didn’t respond,” Raju continued. “But (Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer, who was walking with her in the hallway, said: ‘Ask Mitch McConnell. It’s true that McConnell and Senate Republicans objected to Mnuchin’s $1.8 trillion plan, but so did Pelosi, who said in October: ‘This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back.’”
Well, both despite and because of Pelosi, Congress on Monday stood ready to push through a package half the size of what the American people could have had in October.
Pelosi said “nothing was better than something” and has openly admitted her delay was about impacting the Presidential election.
There is one person responsible for this delay, and she’s proud of it.
Shocking to see reporters try to give her cover. pic.twitter.com/rnry5U3lra
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) December 20, 2020