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Coronavirus Relief Bill: Pelosi’s Identity Politics Pork Barrel

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste,” Obama adviser Rahm Emanuel said during the country’s last major emergency. Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is bringing this noxious idea back as she uses the coronavirus pandemic to permanently stamp identity politics on corporate America.

Pelosi’s coronavirus relief bill is a veritable pork barrel for programs that would force corporations receiving government aid to implement “diversity and inclusion” initiatives that have nothing to do with combating COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and preventing its spread.

In an age when the word “outrage” has lost its meaning through overuse, one is left speechless that the speaker of the House would hold the country’s physical and financial health hostage in an attempt to remake the corporate world along the lines of identity politics.

Pelosi’s bill uses the words diversity or diverse 63 times, the word inclusion 14 times and the word minority 109 times as it lays money aside for large and small pet projects based on national divisions that depend on race, ethnicity, sex, disability status, etc.

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This is not showing compassion for those in need; this is abusing the coronavirus emergency to reorder America.

Title V of Pelosi’s bill, “Investing in a Sustainable Recovery,” has sections on “Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity” and “Diverse Investment Advisers.”

The bill is meticulous in its attempt to coerce companies to count Americans along identity categories in every nook and cranny of corporate activity.

The legislation stipulates: “Any corporation that receives federal aid related to COVID-19 must maintain officials and budget dedicated to diversity and inclusion for no less than 5 years after disbursement of funds.”

The oversight panel set up to distribute the funds “shall collect diversity data from any corporation that receives Federal aid related to COVID-19 and issue a report that will be made publicly available no later than one year after the disbursement of funds.”

That report must include:

the gender, race and ethnic identity (and to the extent possible results disaggregated by ethnic group) as otherwise known or provided voluntarily, for the total number of employees (full and part-time) and the career level of employees (executive and managers versus employees in other roles). … The number and dollar value invested with minority- and women-owned suppliers (and to the extent possible results disaggregated by ethnic group) including professional services (legal and consulting) and asset managers, and deposits and other accounts with minority depository institutions, as compared to all vendors investments.

Pelosi’s legislation would require companies to supply a comparison of pay among sexes and racial and ethnic minorities. They would have to equally hand over to the government demographic data on their corporate boards, the “reporting structure of lead diversity officials,” and the size of the budget and staff of offices dedicated to “diversity and inclusion.”

Pelosi’s bill would order the Securities and Exchange Commission to set up a Diversity and Advisory Group composed of college professors, government bureaucrats, and members of the private sector to carry out a study that would propose strategies to “increase gender, racial and ethnic diversity” on corporate boards.

Even grantees that hire service personnel who assist elderly households “shall consider and hire, at all levels of employment, and to greatest extent possible, a diverse staff, including by race, ethnicity, gender and disability status.”

No stone is left unturned in Nancy Pelosi’s effort to use the greatest crisis this country has faced in years to stamp identity politics on all aspects of the economy.

What it all has to do with combating the coronavirus or getting our economy humming again is a mystery.

But as Emanuel, who would become chief of staff to President Barack Obama, made clear in 2008, the moments of greatest urgency and fear create opportunities to do things that are completely unrelated to the crisis at hand–even if one must make one’s fellow citizens suffer a little longer.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision,” House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., told fellow lawmakers in a conference call last week, according to The Hill newspaper.

Indeed.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Mike Gonzalez

Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, is a widely experienced international correspondent, commentator, and editor who has reported from Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He served in the George W. Bush administration, first at the Securities and Exchange Commission and then at the State Department, and is the author of “A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans.” His new book on identity politics, “The Plot to Change America,” will be published this summer. Read his research.

Republished with permission from The Daily Signal.

Image: Gage Skidmore

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