McConnell pushes for ‘3-Martini Lunch’ Deduction while letting millions of Americans go hungry

“Mitch McConnell’s ‘new’ Covid relief bill gives CEOs a 100% tax deduction for a 3-martini lunch, but ZERO to the 26 million who don't have enough food to eat.”

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As tens of millions of Americans are struggling to afford food, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushes for a 100% tax deduction for business meals. This relief measure is a direct gift to corporate executives and leaves many, like Senator Bernie Sanders, furious. 

“Mitch McConnell’s ‘new’ Covid relief bill gives CEOs a 100% tax deduction for a 3-martini lunch, but ZERO to the 26 million who don’t have enough food to eat. Yes. The Republicans l-o-v-e corporate socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the rest. Ain’t gonna happen,” tweets Sanders. 

As MSNBC reports, at face value, the idea may not seem outlandish. After all, the restaurant industry has been brutally slammed by the pandemic, and it’s hardly unreasonable for policymakers to look for ways to give the industry a boost. But the details matter. At issue here is a tax break to those who talk business while eating out. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Robert Greenstein noted a while back, the “three-martini-lunch deduction” is generally celebrated by wealthy executives and lobbyists.

Not only does McConnell’s relief bill cater to CEOs, but it also omits any kind of nutrition assistance for the nation’s citizens as the hunger crisis worsens leaving 26 million adults unable to provide sufficient food for themselves and their families. 

Many Democratic lawmakers have immediately dismissed McConnell‘s proposal. “This is an insult to the millions of workers and businesses that are losing their livelihoods because of this crisis. This proposal doesn’t come close to giving Americans the help they desperately need to stay afloat,” says Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). 

But with a possible government shutdown a week away, there is little time to accept a coronavirus relief agreement. According to Common Dreams, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday threw their support behind a new bipartisan, bicameral compromise proposal as the “basis” for negotiations.

“Unlike McConnell’s plan, the bipartisan proposal would provide a $300-per-week federal boost to unemployment insurance, a key lifeline that 12 million Americans are set to lose on December 26 without congressional action,” writes Jake Johnson, staff writer at Common Dreams. 

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