CNN’s coverage Tuesday morning of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic falsely depicted the recent loss of extended federal unemployment benefits as caused by Democratic inaction and lack of compromise, rather than delays by Republicans and even segments of their party opposing further economic stimulus.
“So, why hasn't Congress stepped in? Why has Congress not passed another stimulus bill?” guest co-anchor Erica Hill asked rhetorically on New Day. She also said to one of the guests: “You can't help but ask the question, you know, is it time for Democrats to blink? Is it time for them to say, ‘OK, fine?’”
In fact, House Democrats passed a comprehensive relief package all the way back in May, known as the Heroes Act. Senate Republicans waited to engage with this proposal: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) did not unveil the Republican plan until the last week of July and then included only roughly one-third of the aid spending covered by the Democrats’ bill. In addition, The Wall Street Journal reported that Senate Republicans were split over whether to pursue continued stimulus measures, with possibly even half of the caucus opposing McConnell’s bill.
Furthermore, Democratic negotiators already offered a compromise this past Friday, when they lowered the cost of their proposal down to $2 trillion, halfway between the Heroes Act amount and that of the Republican proposal — which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called a “nonstarter.” Trump then signed a series of executive orders that are arguably unconstitutional, and he is also proposing to permanently cut the tax that funds Social Security and Medicare.
However, mainstream media outlets continue to cover this legislative impasse with a baseless narrative that Democrats are failing to compromise, or by offering a both-sides portrayal in which “both Congress and the president, Democrats and Republicans,” are to blame.