Nancy Pelosi has slammed Mitch McConnell in a new interview, calling him the "Grim Reaper" after he stalled new economic relief measures and declined to negotiate with Democrats on criminal justice and nationwide policing reform.
It’s a phrase the Kentucky Republican has used to describe himself, claiming he serves as a sort of stop-gap measure to prevent the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives from passing bills that eventually become the law of the land.
But in a Tuesday interview with PBS’ Judy Woodruff, the House speaker used the “most unfortunate metaphor” against Mr McConnell for failing to work with Democrats on the two major issues, which she suggested desperately need to be addressed.
“Mitch McConnell has called himself the Grim Reaper, that any legislation that goes over there will die in the Senate cemetery,” Ms Pelosi said. “It's a most unfortunate metaphor or term, analogy to use, when people are dying because of the coronavirus, and he will not engage in testing, tracing, treating, and distancing, with a strategic plan, where he will not open up to real negotiations on what we do about ending police brutality, recognising that many of our men and women in blue honourably perform their duties, but some don't. And that has to stop.”
Ms Pelosi also attacked the Republican-led Senate over its policing reform bill that failed to pass a test vote last week, saying “the other side wants nothing” and the bill effectively made “no difference” when it came to police reform in the United States.
“It’s up to [Senate Republicans] to negotiate with the Senate Democrats, so they can have something that they could pass in the Senate,” she said. “They don't have anything that could pass in the Senate, much less pass in the House.”
Under Ms Pelosi, the House has passed the Justice in Policing Act, which bans chokeholds and creates a national registry in order to track police misconduct, as well as the HEROES Act, a sweeping stimulus package that would extend relief to millions of Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr McConnell has declined to support a vote on either bill in the Senate, and said he would like “to take a pause” on passing additional recovery measures to deal with the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.
“McConnell wants a pause. He wants a pause. Well, a pause isn't happening in hunger in America, where people are going to food banks who never thought they would,” Ms Pelosi said. “Rent is not pausing in America, and we passed a bill to help with that. But he is — you know, the Grim Reaper is going to put a stop to that, a pause to that.”
She added: “If we don't act to invest in our economy soon, that the consequences are going to be even worse than they are now.”
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