March 24, 2020

Angry McConnell: ‘Tax credits for solar panels’ holding up critical economic relief package

By Susan Ferrechio | Washington Examiner | March 23, 2020 |

Republicans Monday accused Democrats of holding up the coronavirus economic relief package by treating it like “a juicy political opportunity.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said the $2 trillion measure was “this close” to passing until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, arrived in the Capitol Sunday and demanded the bill include “unrelated issues, left and right,” to satisfy the party’s liberal agenda.

Democrats say they are negotiating with the Trump administration and are “very close” to a deal.

McConnell said Democrats want the measure to include tax credits for solar and wind energy, provisions providing “special treatment to big labor,” as well as a new emissions standard for the airline industry in exchange for $58 billion in federal loans.

“I’d like to see Senate Democrats tell all American seniors who’ve seen their hard-earned retirement savings literally melt away as the markets track toward their worst month since 1931 that they’re continuing to hold up emergency measures over tax credits for solar panels,” McConnell said.

McConnell has set up an early afternoon vote to try to move a “shell” for the package. The same vote failed yesterday because Democrats blocked it, seeking a slew of additional changes.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, called McConnell’s accusation “a partisan screed” and said he was working with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on a compromise.

“We’ve had almost continuous discussions with Secretary Mnuchin,” Schumer said. “We are very close to reaching a deal. Very close. Our goal is to reach a deal today, and we are hopeful and even confident that we will meet that goal.”

Schumer complained the bill still includes “large corporate bailouts with almost no strings attached” and wants “protection” for workers and oversight of the big companies who receive federal loans.

The bill includes $500 billion in loans, with $58 billion designated to the airline industry, and it shields those loans from certain disclosures for six months. Companies say disclosing the loans earlier could lead to more layoffs by discouraging investors.

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