Little of Pelosi’s Wish List Made It Into COVID-19 Relief Bill. That’s a Relief in Itself.

COMMENTARY Progressivism

Little of Pelosi’s Wish List Made It Into COVID-19 Relief Bill. That’s a Relief in Itself.

Mar 28th, 2020 3 min read
COMMENTARY BY
GianCarlo Canaparo

Legal Fellow, Meese Center

GianCarlo is a Legal Fellow in the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discusses the CARES Act after the bill was passed at the U.S. Capitol March 27, 2020, in Washington, D.C. ALEX EDELMAN / Contributor / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

On Friday, the House passed the massive $2 trillion-plus coronavirus relief package that the Senate had passed on Wednesday. 

Pelosi was not going to be accused of letting a crisis go to waste.

Expect Pelosi and the progressives to try again to make the wishes on their wish list come true.

On Friday, the House passed the massive $2 trillion-plus coronavirus relief package that the Senate had passed on Wednesday. 

There’s a lot in those 880 pages, and much of it is problematic: The bill is neither targeted and temporary, nor directed exclusively at the coronavirus—as scholars at The Heritage Foundation and its president, Kay C. James, have explained.

Before the bill made it through the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., temporarily derailed it by insisting that any relief bill include a left-wing wish list unrelated to the ongoing pandemic and the economic slowdown that it’s causing.  

Among other things, Pelosi would have:

  • Mandated “diversity” on corporate boards and in banks.
  • Required airlines to disclose and reduce emissions.
  • Mandated that states allow voting by mail.
  • Increased union bargaining power. 
  • Expanded tax credits for wind and solar power.
  • Prohibited universities from disclosing the citizenship status of their students.
  • Provided a bailout for some private pensions.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Pelosi was not going to be accused of letting a crisis go to waste.

In what is becoming a familiar theme (think of her failed attempt to control how the Senate conducted its impeachment trial), Pelosi backed down shortly after making her demands.  

With the legislation now through Congress, how much of Pelosi’s wish list made it into the bill?

None of the wish-list items listed above made the cut, but there remains a lot of unnecessary and unwise spending in it.

Diversity requirements for banks and corporate boards are out, as is Pelosi’s demand for a Securities and Exchange Commission advisory group to promote corporate “diversity.”

Also out is her demand that companies taking relief funds establish and staff a minimum five-year “diversity and inclusion” program. Indeed, the words “diversity” and “inclusion” don’t appear in the legislation passed by the Senate.

The package also does not include any new carbon emissions restrictions or disclosure requirements for airlines or other industries.

Similarly missing are any of her proposals for a federal takeover of state elections. 

Her attempt to give unions a handout failed, too, as did her attempt to give a handout to wind and solar power providers.

The bill does not prevent colleges and universities from disclosing their students who are illegal aliens, or provide any other shroud for illegal status.

Likewise, the private pension bailouts she demanded are nowhere to be found in the Senate bill.

Pelosi succeeded in delaying the relief package by several days, but she failed to capitalize on what her No. 2 lieutenant, Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., called a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” 

Still, Pelosi took to Twitter to celebrate her success in turning the Senate Republicans’ bill “upside down.” 

In the end, Pelosi supported the bill wholeheartedly.

But despite her self-proclaimed success in turning the Senate bill upside down, progressives in her party are not happy with it.  

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., thinks that the relief package favors the businesses that employ the vast majority of Americans. She had threatened to delay the bill’s passage.

Even before this relief package becomes law, politicians on both sides of the aisle were already calling for another one to follow, so expect Pelosi and the progressives to try again to make the wishes on their wish list come true.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal