In the HEROES stimulus package introduced in the House, Democrats are again proposing sending out $1200 relief checks. The grand stimulus plan the entire country was hearing stories about was released yesterday. Senate Republicans quickly dismissed the possibility of the bill going through.
Unlike the CARES package, there isn’t really any excitement surrounding the HEROES plan. The Democrats themselves seem divided on the plan’s strength. Many recommendations from the progressive caucus were ignored, according to reports.
In a time of crisis when a truly progressive bill was the need of the hour, the Democrats seem to have fluffed their lines, again. All types of pieces on friendly platforms like CNN were talking up the eventual bill the Democrats were drafting. In the end, the HEROES plan doesn’t live up to its name. Pramila Jayapal tweeted the following regarding the legislation.
With more than 33 million people filing for unemployment in 7 weeks, workers are looking for certainty about how we end mass unemployment and how they’ll get their next paycheck.
This legislation doesn't end mass unemployment and it doesn't get paychecks back into their pockets.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) May 13, 2020
Rep. Jayapal goes on to explain in her thread how the new legislation fails to do enough for healthcare and a range of other things. She is not wrong. Despite the size of the bill, Democrats don’t seem to have a bill which solves real problems.
The passage of the bill in the House or the Senate is not the only problem for Democrats. This uninspiring piece of legislation puts them in a difficult position, a place where they could face an attack from Trump himself.
Trump’s Attack from the Left – The Democrats’ Nightmare
The Democrats are terrible at marketing. This is much clear from the legislation they are proposing.
Besides austerity-preaching libertarian bible-beating Republicans in the Senate, most people in the country realize the need for a better relief package. The $1200 coming from the CARES package already showed Americans that the government did have the power to provide additional benefits.
Between March and May, the realization that this crisis will go on longer is creeping in. The need for greater relief than just $1200 is obvious then. When the whole country needed Democrats to give real aid to people and offer $2000 relief checks, they disappointed.
In the HEROES plan, citizens are again given $1200 relief checks. People already know that $1200 is not enough money to survive in this crisis. The HEROES package was a good chance for Democrats to say – here’s another $2000. Instead, moderates in the Democratic caucus who most likely wrote the bill didn’t feel the need to increase aid through relief checks.
Now think about a different scenario. What if President Trump asks Republican Senators to draft a bill giving $2000 relief checks to Americans, beating the Democrats offer? Where will Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer run then?
Unlike establishment figures like Pelosi and McConnell who are corporatist to the core, Trump has no ideology. His only interest lies in things which can help him gain political capital. In March, it was Trump who stunned the Democrats and added relief checks to the CARES package. Trump’s approval in the Republican Party means that GOP senators can’t afford to oppose him.
How Trumpism and Uninspiring Relief Checks Threaten the Democrats?
The existential threat to the Democratic party doesn’t come from progressives. In fact, Democrats are very good at silencing and beating down progressives. For any good progressive idea, Democrats have a readymade answer – the Republicans will never agree to this.
What if Trump outflanks the Democratic party on the left? What is the point of having progressives like AOC and Pramila Jayapal in your party when Donald Trump is more progressive than you?
For those who think Trump proposing $2000 relief checks is impossible, think again. It wasn’t Democrats who fought for $1200 relief checks in the previous bill. The instruction came from the White House. Right now, Trump is making America more progressive than any progressive in the House.
Democrats had a chance to grab the headlines yesterday with an eye-catching coronavirus relief bill. Instead, they have disappointed again. If Trump does take advantage of the uninspiring relief bill and propose offering $2000 relief checks, time will come for moderate Democrats to hang their heads in shame. The person they hate the most would end up looking more progressive than them.