Report Claims Mitch McConnell Plans To Hold Up Additional Stimulus Funding To Pressure States Into Reopening On Trump’s Schedule

Republicans are bound and determine to trigger a second wave of the virus, even if they have to extort states to do it.

619 points

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies are hellbent on reopening the country earlier than health experts recommend, risking a second wave of coronavirus infections in the process. But while states are resisting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the Trump administration are reportedly considering withholding funding to force states to do so.

The coronavirus pandemic has already claimed the lives of over 42,000 Americans and more than 800,000 have been infected, meaning the death toll is only going to continue rising. “Thirty days to stop the spread” has not yet ended, but Trump and many Republicans are moving forward with plans to reopen the country early.

States are still inundated with rising cases of the virus and rightfully fear triggering a second wave that could have even more dire consequences, including a complete collapse of the economy, worse than we have seen already.

But Trump is eager to declare victory over the pandemic and to improve his reelection chances, which is why he is now pressuring states to reopen. He’s already encouraging right-wing protests that are causing spikes of the virus. Now he apparently wants to try extortion by holding up crucial financial aid unless states bow to his demands.

Congress and the White House are currently negotiating another massive stimulus package that could include relief for state and local governments that are running low on revenues.

McConnell and the Trump administration, however, are resisting the proposal for sinister reasons.

“The thinking among some Trump administration officials is that many states should be reopening their governments soon and that additional funding could deter them from doing so,” Axios reported.

According to Politico:

Senate and House Democrats have been pushing hard in negotiations for $150 billion in funds for state and local governments to pair with the hundreds of billions the administration wants in small business lending. But the White House and Trump administration have been holding out because, in part, they believe if Congress keeps cutting checks for state and local governments, they will be disincentivized to open up their economies.”

The fact is that state governments want to reopen. But they want to protect the public health and avoid a deadly second outbreak of the virus that would make all the measures that have been taken thus far meaningless. Another round of infections would also shut the economy down even longer, prolonging the damage.

Holding funding hostage until states agree to risk the lives of the American people is not only irresponsible, it’s cruel. It’s the same incompetence that got us into this disaster in the first place.

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