The consternation over President Trump taking executive action to postpone the payroll tax and extend unemployment benefits continues apace. As I previously wrote (see Liberals Lose It Over Trump Using Precedent They Cheered Under Obama), the same Democrats and media who cheered clearly unconstitutional orders by Barack Obama are now really mad that Trump is using actual delegated authority to go around Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
Regardless of what you think about the principle behind it, Trump does have the power to postpone (not effectively cancel as Obama did for seven years) a tax via the IRS. He also has the power to redirect disaster funding, which the coronavirus clearly qualifies under.
That hasn’t stopped Schumer from losing his mind. Here he is flailing about wildly on the Senate floor yesterday, decrying the fact that Trump said enough is enough.
Sen. Chuck Schumer: "The Senate Republican majority ran down the clock, tossed up an air ball, and then subbed themselves out of the game." pic.twitter.com/yMA4MfYqCo
— The Hill (@thehill) August 12, 2020
No, what the Senate majority did was offer Democrats more than 50% of what they were demanding multiple times, only to get rejected. They were rejected because Pelosi and Schumer thought they could simply keep punting and blame Republicans for the resulting economic woes. It was a cynical, gross political strategy that any non-Democrat would have been excoriated for. There was never any care behind people behind what they were doing. It was simply a ploy to defeat Donald Trump.
In that sense, it’s highly satisfying to see their bluff get called. Now, Schumer wants to cry and moan that Republicans won’t work with him. Work with him for what? He had months to come to an agreement to extend unemployment benefits and the GOP were offering more than a fair deal to sign onto. The arguments over the post office, social justice programs, and bailing out delinquent blue states could have waited.
Schumer is the bratty kid who refuses to stop cheating and then gets mad when everyone else tells him to go home because they don’t see a point in playing with him anymore. He had a chance to stand up for his constituents and tell Pelosi that he’s not going to be held hostage anymore. Instead, he’s been her puppet and now he’s paying the price.
If I were Trump and the Republicans, I wouldn’t even reopen talks. We don’t need another 3 trillion dollar bill. The current actions of postponing the payroll tax and moving money around that’s already been spent is not only more effective, it’s much more fiscally sane. As Ron Johnson has been saying, the breakdown of the talks is actually a good thing. Spend the money from the first bill for a reduced unemployment benefit ($400 instead of $600), move some FEMA money around, and give people a break on their taxes. Anything past that is just going prolong the economic pain to the extent that it hasn’t already been prolonged.
Schumer chose to be a coward and had his bluff called. He should have thought harder about the consequences of trying to play hardball when he wasn’t holding the ball. His cries will fall on deaf ears now, as they should.
(Please go follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)