The top Republican on the House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis touted President Trump and his administration for their response to the pandemic, while slamming Democrats for “failing to acknowledge” that the president’s decisions “saved American lives.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., the top Republican on the committee, penned a letter to his GOP colleagues, and released a Republican-authored report on the Trump administration’s response to the novel coronavirus.
“Speaker Pelosi and House Democrat leadership empaneled the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis to legitimize their partisan attacks on the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Scalise wrote Thursday. “They failed.”
Scalise criticized committee Democrats, saying they “repeatedly denied” Republicans the opportunity to call witnesses to testify, and “prohibited” Republicans from “pursuing critically important lines of investigation,” which he said were related to “China’s role in the pandemic.”
Nevertheless, Scalise said Republicans obtained testimony and information “that show the president made a series of difficult decisions that saved lives and preserved the economy.”
“The facts are clear: President Trump’s leadership during this unprecedented pandemic has our country on a path to a full recovery,” Scalise wrote.
In their review, Scalise said that Republicans found that China “lied about the dangers” of the novel coronavirus “while simultaneously hoarding” personal protective equipment and allowing Chinese nationals to travel abroad.
Scalise and committee Republicans praised the Trump administration for “immediately” responding to the emerging threat.
“President Trump made tough, but effective decisions based on the best advice of medical professionals,” Scalise said. “The President’s decisions saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”
Scalise went on to tout the administration’s “unprecedented effort” to produce and distribute PPE, create what he described as “the world’s best testing infrastructure,” reduce fatalities and “create a safe and effective vaccine faster than any in human history.”
Scalise also slammed Democratic governors for having “ignored guidance” from the Trump administration by sending COVID-19 positive patients back to nursing homes “resulting in tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.”
Meanwhile, the report, which Fox News exclusively obtained, stated that the Trump administration had a “plan to procure PPE,” a plan to slow the spread, referring to the “15 days to slow the spread” in March, and the “30 days to slow the spread” which ended in April; a “plan to increase testing,” and a plan to “safely reopen the economy,” “safely reopen schools,” and a plan to create a “safe and effective vaccine.”
It is unclear, at this point, when Democrats will release a report from their investigation into the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
But Scalise went on to say that GOP concerns that Pelosi, D-Calif., intended to “politicize” the COVID-19 pandemic were “well-founded.”
“Subcommittee Democrats have pushed partisan policy objectives and attempted to score political points at every opportunity,” Scalise wrote, slamming Democrats for “voting on sham impeachment articles” when the president was making “life-saving decisions early.”
“Instead of working across the aisle to pass bipartisan relief measures, Speaker Pelosi continues to hold America’s small businesses and workers hostage to her liberal wish list,” Scalise said. “Instead of working with the Trump administration to develop a vaccine at record pace, Democrats are actively working to undermine public faith and smear the patriotic officials working to save lives around the world.”
But Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Democrats are in negotiations with the White House and the House just passed a $2.2 trillion relief bill.
The bill passed on Thursday night, on a 214 to 207 vote. All Republicans voted no, and independent Rep. Justin Amash also voted no.
This is the second bill the House passed since May to address the coronavirus pandemic, while the GOP-majority Senate has failed to advance anything.
The Senate is also unlikely to take up this newly-passed coronavirus package, as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Wednesday called it “outlandish” and suggested his GOP majority wants to stay around $500 billion.
The House originally passed a $3.4 trillion bill in May known as the HEROES Act — the largest spending bill on record in U.S. history. But the Senate rebuked the legislation as an overpriced liberal wish list. McConnell offered up two counter-proposals in the months since at $1 trillion and about $300 billion, respectively, but neither could pass the Senate as Democrats said the effort didn’t meet the gravity of the pandemic.
The $2.2 trillion House bill, known as HEROES 2.0, would give Americans an economic lifeline as previous coronavirus relief programs have dried up.
The legislation would provide additional direct payments of $1,200 per taxpayer, which includes undocumented immigrants who pay taxes, and $500 per dependent, restore unemployment benefits of $600 weekly federal assistance through January and revive the Paycheck Protection Program to serve the smallest businesses and struggling nonprofits.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic, which triggered an unprecedented shutdown of the nation’s economy, caused the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression. Although the labor market has mounted a slow-but-steady recovery – the jobless rate fell to 8.4% in August after employers hired 1.4 million workers – there remain 11.5 million more out-of-work Americans compared with February.
As of Thursday, the United States reported more than 7.2 million cases of the novel coronavirus and more than 207,000 deaths.
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.