Pelosi Calls COVID Bill Holdup “Blackmail”

( House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not at all happy that Republicans are holding up the passage of additional COVID-19 relief unless a vote is held on Title 42, calling the move “blackmail.”

Still, the Speaker said she might be open to a vote on that measure, passed under former President Donald Trump, that allows migrants to be deported out of the country quickly and prevents them from seeking asylum.

In early April, Senate Republicans wouldn’t advance a COVID-19 relief bill that would have provided an extra $10 billion in support. They did that because Democrats refused to hold a vote on an amendment they proposed that would block the Biden administration from doing away with Title 42.

Since that time, though, some Senate Democrats have signaled they were willing to hold a vote on the measure. Last week, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said “there’s a growing willingness to bring that up and have the amendment votes necessary to get it to a final vote.”

Pelosi seemed to signal the same thing recently, though she was more reluctant to hold the vote. She said of more COVID-19 relief:

“There’s no use holding it up to blackmail, as the Republicans are trying to do. We’re working on it. We will find a way.

“It has to be done, because people continuing to hear every moment — all the time now, hopefully not as deadly as the previous COVID-19. But, nonetheless, we must pass the package.”

Reporters pressed Pelosi as to whether she would be in support of the COVID-19 relief if it also protected Title 42. She responded:

“I don’t even know why 42 would be on it. It has nothing to do with it … The fact is now that we have to either substitute for it, but we much pass the COVID package.”

Some members of Congress had considered linking relief funding for Ukraine with domestic COVID-19 relief funding, but that didn’t end up happening. Instead, the Ukraine support was passed independently.

Ultimately, Pelosi said leadership in the House didn’t link the two together only because Republicans signaled they wouldn’t support it. She explained:

“We wanted to put COVID on there. They said no. We said, ‘OK, Ukraine, urgent, right this minute. We will do that.’ But we have to do the COVID package. There’s no use holding it up to blackmail, as the Republicans are trying to do.”

Republicans, meanwhile, are taking a much different approach to the need for more COVID relief funding. Many are saying that there’s no need for the extra funding, especially that which would go to individual states, since many of those states still haven’t spent what was originally given to them.

It’s just another example of Republicans taking a more cautious economic approach to governing, while Democrats seem willing to continue throwing money around. It’s as if the country weren’t on the brink of a recession with monumental inflation present.