House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wasted no time in firing back at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after he crudely dismissed the idea of using federal funds to relieve beleaguered state governments as “Blue State Bailouts.”
Speaking to the Washington Post, the Speaker took aim at McConnell over what she saw as a desperate attempt to play partisan politics in the middle of a pandemic.
“Look at the language of Mitch McConnell: ‘I’m not bailing out blue states, they should go bankrupt. Really? Really? How insecure is he in his own race in Kentucky to have to resort to that pathetic language?”
For the first time in recent memory, McConnell may be vulnerable in his home state. Recent polling shows Mitch McConnell’s favorability ratings in his own state scraping the bottom at just 27% favorable vs. 45.7% unfavorable while his Democratic opponent, former fighter pilot Amy McGrath, outraised him during the first quarter of this year.
The coronavirus crisis is projected to blow a half-trillion-dollar hole in the budgets of America’s 50 states. If the states are not bailed out, the shortfall is likely to trigger crushing austerity, massive job losses, and an abrupt end to critical public services that could push our economy into years of recession or even a great depression to rival the 1929 crash.
But rather than spend the public’s money to protect the jobs and pensions of the first responders that politicians love to tearfully canonize as Real American Heroes (TM), McConnell announced yesterday that he would rather see the states go bankrupt.
McConnell tells Hugh Hewitt he prefers states be allowed to declare bankruptcy over sending them direct federal aid. pic.twitter.com/cvj8Hfj7Tb
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) April 22, 2020
On top of that, his office dismissed the idea as “Blue State Bailouts” and began crying crocodile tears about fiscal responsibility despite the Majority Leader’s role in blowing a $3 trillion hole in the national debt with tax cuts for the wealthy.
Mitch McConnell’s own state of Kentucky relies on the federal government for 40% of its budget.
While some might see this as a reason to poor-shame the state and cry hypocrisy and argue that they deserve to lose their money for voting conservative, remember that the loss of federal funding will only hurt the state’s most vulnerable people and the state’s hardest workers — and people who have probably been disenfranchised of their ability to vote in the first place.
I wouldn’t care if the entire budget of the state of Kentucky came from the federal government, because they’re Americans and they deserve to have healthcare, unemployment insurance, and all the other benefits that they deserve to live a life in dignity and comfort.
To politicize the rescue of state governments as “blue” or “red” bailouts in the middle of a pandemic is entirely unnecessary and is yet another expression of the obvious and repulsive disregard that Mitch McConnell holds for all Americans who don’t funnel money into Republican war chests.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.