Congressional lawmakers are continuing to point fingers as negotiations regarding the next coronavirus relief package continue. As Democrats and Republicans continue to meet daily to discuss the HEALS Act, striving to reach a deal before they recess on Aug. 7, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for "holding up" the negotiations, citing her recent remarks that cannabis "is a therapy that has proven successful" against COVID-19.
Speaker Pelosi is still holding up this entire package over bizarre unrelated things like carveouts for the marijuana industry. She even claimed to the press that pot is a proven COVID-19 therapy!
I hope she’s shared this breakthrough with Dr. Fauci.
Can we get serious yet? https://t.co/CksSWrMKDN— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) August 4, 2020
Pelosi made those comments in late July as she took the floor to defend the marijuana provisions in the Democrats' coronavirus relief bill. Introduced in May and approved by the House of Representatives, the HEROES Act, among other things, includes the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act — a bill that seeks to prohibit federal financial regulators from penalizing banks and depository institutions that provide services to legal cannabis-related businesses. That bill, however, has largely been met with opposition from Republicans, who say it is unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic and relief geared towards the economic crisis it has caused. Pelosi, however, thinks otherwise.
Addressing those accusations during a press briefing in the Capitol, Pelosi said that she doesn't "agree with you that cannabis is not related to this." She went on to state that "this is a therapy that has proven successful." USA Today reports that Pelosi did not cite any studies or health officials that have said cannabis may be a treatment for the coronavirus, though a recent report from Forbes said that researches have begun to explore the possibility of its uses in treating lung inflammation.
Those remarks came as the HEALS Act also faces scrutiny for a number of provisions included that are unrelated to the pandemic and the response to the crisis. Under the GOP's proposal, $1.75 billion would be provided "for the design and construction of a Washington, D.C. headquarters facility for the Federal Bureau of Investigation." Another $377 million of the $1 trillion package would go towards a West Wing renovation, with more than $8 billion being allocated for military weaponry. The bill also provides a business lunch deduction.
These provisions have drawn criticism not only from Democrats but also from Republicans, with Sen. Rick Scott stating that he does not "understand it." McConnell has even questioned those provisions, previously stating that he is "opposed to non-germane amendments, whether it's funding for the FBI building or for example whether in the House bill it's a tax cut for high-income earners in blue states or other non-germane amendments in the House bill like marijuana studies or aid to illegal immigrants."