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Most Pelosi pork thrown out, House to pass Senate relief package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference in Washington D.C. Photo courtesy Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

WASHINGTON D.C. – Multiple sources are reporting that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has given up on her attempts to add billions of dollars in pork barrel spending to the latest coronavirus relief package passed by the U.S. Senate.

Earlier in the week, Pelosi threw Capitol Hill for a loop when she returned from the west coast, declaring that House Democrats would put forward their own version of the bill after Senate Democrats had agreed to a deal with the White House and Senate Republicans.

Among Pelosi’s original demands, which will now be discarded, were:

-Changes to election laws, including “risk limiting audits” of election results, national same day voter registration and mandatory state absentee voting.

-100% elimination of the U.S. Postal Service’s debt and give USPS $20 billion for lost revenue.

– Corporate board diversity requirements for any company that received stimulus help. (The package passed by the U.S. Senate does have strict oversight of the use of the funds provided by corporations)

-Wind and solar tax credits.

-Cancels several Presidential executive orders and memorandums that are disliked by American labor unions.

-Requires companies that receive stimulus funds to implement a $15 minimum wage.

– Implement new carbon offset restrictions on airlines, a top Green New Deal goal.

– Special rules for minimum funding of retirement plans for community newspapers.

– $300 million for the National Endowment of the Arts.

– $300 million for the National Endowment of the Humanities.

– $100 million for NASA.

Pelosi’s Partial Success

A few of Pelosi’s demands were partially met, with the Senate agreeing to add $25 million to the bill for the John F. Kennedy Center. That is less than the $35 million Pelosi originally demanded. The John F. Kennedy Center released a statement defending the funding, saying that as an organization created by Congress, they do not have access to traditional financial instruments during the crisis.

Instead of landing the $600 million she demanded for the National Endowment of the Arts and Humanities, the bill includes $75 million to each.

Despite losing most of the high-profile demands she laid out earlier in the week, Pelosi said in a press conference today that she expected a strong bipartisan vote in favor of the bill and attempted to declare victory, claiming that the tweaks made in late negotiations “flipped” the bill to one that favors workers over corporations.

Other sources on Capitol Hill and those analyzing the bill suggest that Pelosi and Schumer’s bravado is misplaced insofar as they had little effect on the final legislation, which looks very much like the original framework agreed to between the U.S. Senate and White House.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine was the architect of the small business relief package in the bill, which provides funding to allow small businesses to continue to provide paychecks to their workers and retain employees through the crisis.

The U.S. Senate passed the relief package by a unanimous 96-0 vote. The House will take up the Senate version of the package on Friday.