Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on October 20, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on October 20, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

Sanders Opposed to Relief Plan That Gives 'Absolutely No Financial Help' to Tens of Millions of Suffering People

"Given the enormous economic desperation facing working families in this country today, I will not be able to support the recently announced Manchin-Romney Covid proposal unless it is significantly improved."

Kenny Stancil

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday expressed his opposition to the bipartisan Covid-19 relief bill currently being hashed out in the U.S. Senate, arguing that any package that denies stimulus checks to millions of struggling households yet guarantees corporations immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits is unacceptable. 

Sanders intends to vote against the $908 billion relief measure—circulated earlier this week by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Susan Collins (R-Me.)—unless it is made substantially better.

"There's no vaccine to save bank accounts, late housing payments, deteriorated health, or holes in local and state governments."
—Rep. Rashida Tlaib

"Given the enormous economic desperation facing working families in this country today, I will not be able to support the recently announced Manchin-Romney Covid proposal unless it is significantly improved," said Sanders in a statement Friday afternoon.

"Tens of millions of Americans living in desperation today would receive absolutely no financial help from this proposal," the democratic socialist lawmaker from Vermont added. 

Sanders was not alone in demanding direct cash relief for "the people," who—in Rep. Rashida Tlaib's (D-Mich.) words—have been "left behind by the current administration in a pandemic."

"A vaccine can hopefully save lives," Tlaib tweeted, "but there's no vaccine to save bank accounts, late housing payments, deteriorated health, or holes in local and state governments."

The compromise legislation includes unemployment insurance that "would provide hundreds of billions of dollars to jobless Americans," the Washington Post reported Friday. "It would also provide some funding for states and cities hit by declines in revenue... and offer new funding for struggling small businesses... It would provide smaller amounts of money, in the tens of billions, to a number of other critical needs, including schools; childcare; hunger; rental assistance; and other pressing demands."

Progressives have decried the bill's lack of stimulus checks and the inclusion of a "liability shield" ensuring corporations are not held accountable for endangering public health.

The proposal's liability provision "would continue to provide a get-out-of-jail free card to companies that put the lives of their workers and customers at risk," Sanders said, adding that it will "encourage corporations to avoid implementing the common sense safety standards needed to protect workers and consumers—and make a bad situation worse."

Meanwhile, the Post reported that conservative opponents of the deal, including Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), have rejected the framework for allocating $160 billion in fiscal aid to state and local governments.

With the GOP committed to its demand for corporate immunity despite progressive opposition, and congressional Democrats more supportive than Republicans of emergency funding for cash-strapped state and local governments, the Post's Jeff Stein predicted that it "seems impossible at this point we'll have one without the other."

"Maybe if everyone in the U.S. incorporated as an LLC, Mitch McConnell would actually do something for them."
—Rep. Ocasio-Cortez

Because lawmakers are trying to "include the coronavirus relief effort with the spending bill needed to avert a federal government shutdown after December 11," time is running out to reach a deal, the Post explained. "Negotiators said they have an informal Monday deadline for reaching an agreement and releasing legislative text."

While Tlaib and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have joined Sanders in advocating for the package to include stimulus checks—ideally "recurring"—it is still unclear whether the absence of one-time or monthly income support would be a dealbreaker for the two House members. 

On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that Canada provided $2,000 per month to its citizens. In the U.S., on the other hand, "a second stimulus check is getting blocked" because Republicans "want corporate bailouts and austerity 'in exchange' for it."

"Maybe," Ocasio-Cortez added, "if everyone in the U.S. incorporated as an LLC, Mitch McConnell would actually do something for them."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Fears of Escalation as Ukraine Answers Russian Missile Onslaught With Strike Deep Inside Invader's Territory

Ukrainian drones bombed two air bases more than 300 miles inside Russia, reportedly killing three soldiers, wounding four others, and damaging multiple warplanes.

Brett Wilkins ·


Patient Groups Push Congress to Combat Big Pharma Greed in Spending Bill

"As Congress works toward finalizing an end-of-year budget package, we urge the chambers to include bipartisan legislation to address abuse of the Food and Drug Administration's citizen petition process in order to reduce drug prices and save the government hundreds of millions of dollars."

Brett Wilkins ·


10,000+ Sign Open Letter Demanding Biden Order Paid Sick Leave for Railway Workers

"No one, especially in the world's richest nation, should have to choose between forgoing pay or working through severe illness and family emergencies," says The Lever's letter.

Jessica Corbett ·


Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Signals Support for Anti-LGBTQ+ Reactionaries

"It does not bode well for the future of civil rights law that Gorsuch believes a state imposes 'reeducation training' on employers when it reminds them how to comply with nondiscrimination rules," said one court observer.

Julia Conley ·


Report Reveals Corporate Capture of Global Biodiversity Efforts Ahead of Summit

"Their 'solutions' are carefully crafted in order to not undermine their business models; ultimately they do nothing for the environment," said one Friends of the Earth campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo