Lawmakers continue to play the blame game over the delay in the next coronavirus relief package. It’s been over ten days since the GOP unveiled its HEALS Act. Still, no deal has been reached. Late Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and blamed her for holding up the second coronavirus stimulus deal.
What’s delaying second coronavirus stimulus deal?
Democrats and Republicans are meeting daily to come up with a deal before the Senate goes on a month-long break after August 7. Despite the efforts and lawmakers admitting progress in the second coronavirus stimulus negotiations, no deal has been reached yet.
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McConnell, who hasn’t been vocal so far on the negotiations, slammed Pelosi in a recent tweet for the delay in the second coronavirus stimulus deal. In the tweet, McConnell noted that Pelosi is "holding up" the negotiations over “bizarre unrelated things" such as “carveouts for the marijuana industry.”
Speaker Pelosi is still holding up this entire package over bizarre unrelated things like carveouts for the marijuana industry. She even claimed to the press that pot is a proven COVID-19 therapy!
I hope she’s shared this breakthrough with Dr. Fauci.
Can we get serious yet? https://t.co/CksSWrMKDN
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) August 4, 2020
McConnell also cited Pelosi’s recent remarks that cannabis "is a therapy that has proven successful" against COVID-19. Making fun of Pelosi’s recent remarks, McConnell even suggested that she should share the findings with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the White House health advisor and country’s leading infectious diseases expert.
Pelosi's comments about a connection between cannabis and COVID-19 came late last month, while defending the marijuana provisions in the Democrats-backed HEROES Act. Approved by the House of Representatives in mid-May, the HEROES Act, among other things, includes a bill that benefits the cannabis-related businesses.
Unrelated things in both proposals
The Bill – named Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act – seeks to prohibit federal authorities from punishing banks and other financial institutions that offer services to cannabis businesses. Republicans oppose this bill, arguing that it is in no way related to the coronavirus pandemic
Pelosi, however, does not agree with this. During a press briefing last month in the Capitol, she noted that "this is a therapy that has proven successful." As per USA Today, Pelosi cited no studies or health officials to back her claim. A report from Forbes, however, noted studies are now underway to explore the use of cannabis in treating lung inflammation.
The Republicans’ HEALS Act also includes a few provisions that have faced scrutiny for being unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic. One such provision is setting aside $1.75 billion "for the design and construction of a Washington, D.C. headquarters facility for the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
Further, the $1 trillion package also includes $377 million for West Wing renovations and over $8 billion for military weaponry. Such provisions have been criticized by Democrats, as well as Republicans.
Previously, McConnell also opposed these provisions, saying he is "opposed to non-germane amendments” including funds for the FBI building, a tax cut for high-income earners in blue states, marijuana studies and aid to illegal immigrants.