We're nine months into a pandemic that has left almost 340,000 Americans dead. People have lost their jobs and their health insurance. The American government has managed to botch the pandemic response to the point that the US leads the world in deaths, with 1 out of every 1000 Americans having dead from the disease.
In the nine months of intermittent lockdowns, job loss, and overwhelming human suffering, the US government gave each American (adult dependents not included) $1200.
Since then there has been nothing, even as the country faces a looming eviction crisis and COVID cases have spiked dramatically. So when Congress voted to pass the Cash Act with a measly $600 in additional stimulus for each person, people were understandably upset. After criticism from the president and progressive members of Congress, the fight is now for a $2,000 stimulus.
With the House having passed a bill upping the amount of the stimulus to $2,000 and Trump backing the move, there's only man who can impede the Senate voting on the issue.
But, unluckily for all of us, that man is Mitch McConnell.
The Senate Majority Leader has refused to separate the stimulus increase from several unrelated Trump-backed policies. The most notable of these is removing Section 230, a protection that keeps tech companies like Twitter and Facebook from being liable for what their users post online.
It's a Trump pet policy . . . and, as McConnell well knows, a dealbreaker. Whether or not Section 230 should be repealed simply isn't the question here. It's a contentious issue that many people disagree on. But McConnell knows the support for the measure isn't high enough to pass the bill.
Which, of course, is the point. But by crafting a bill doomed to fail, he can at least attempt to pass the blame for not increasing the stimulus on to someone that's not him.
But make no mistake, Mitch McConnell is choosing to torpedo the $2,000 stimulus. More and more Republicans have come out in favor of $2,000 in recent days. There is a very real possibility the measure would pass if it was a single-issue bill. But Mitch McConnell has decided to play politics with people's livelihoods. Stupid politics, considering that blocking a popular stimulus measure wouldn't exactly help his chances of keeping Georgia's two Senate seats in their special election on January 6, but politics all the same.
It's not that Mitch McConnell really thinks Section 230 is that urgent. It's just that a man with a net worth estimated at over $30 million, who receives a taxpayer-funded salary, doesn't think the American people deserve the bare minimum to help keep them afloat after nine months of a pandemic.