With "the economy on the verge of renewed carnage," progressive stalwarts in the U.S. House are demanding urgent and robust relief that meets the pressing needs of the country's working people who have been devastated by the coronavirus crisis.
Our communities are enduring unprecedented challenges from this pandemic. We can't continue to implement half-hearted policies that fail to meet the moment.
—Rep. Ilhan Omar
While Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday expressed his opposition to the bipartisan Covid-19 relief package currently being discussed on Capitol Hill due to its unacceptable privileging of corporate interests over working-class demands for income support, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that Congress "cannot leave" for the year without passing a stimulus bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), as Common Dreams reported earlier this week, has unveiled his own "targeted" proposal that progressives say provides so little assistance for families in the U.S. that it will "cripple" the nation's economy, though it does subsidize corporate business meals. McConnell, critics added, is the "one person standing in the way" of distributing emergency relief.
Although she favored a $2 trillion deal earlier in the year, Pelosi declared that as a result of President-elect Joe Biden's victory and substantial progress on the vaccine front, she is now willing to accept the bipartisan group's $908 billion compromise framework, an announcement that was denounced by Rick Perlstein, a journalist and historian of U.S. conservatism.
Quite the political party that responds to a new grant of power by asking for less of what it claims to want. https://t.co/d0UwaunLGx— Rick Perlstein (@rickperlstein) December 4, 2020
"We could have had a $1.8 trillion Covid relief bill in October with direct payments to the working class to help pay the rent and food," tweeted Warren Gunnels, staff director for Sanders. "It is shameful that we're being asked to support a $900 billion bill with corporate immunity and nothing for the working class."
We could have had a $1.8 trillion COVID relief bill in October with direct payments to the working class to help pay the rent and food.— Warren Gunnels (@GunnelsWarren) December 5, 2020
It is shameful that we’re being asked to support a $900 billion bill with corporate immunity and nothing for the working class. Disgusting.
Citing widespread and worsening economic hardship, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) have made it clear that now is the time to fight for more, not less, with each congresswoman advocating for direct cash relief.
"The next Covid-19 relief package must include stimulus checks," tweeted Tlaib. "There is no good reason to exclude it."
Pretty sad how much people have been conditioned to believe that not getting crushed by costs of healthcare, housing, education, and low wages is either “radical left politics” or “nice but unrealistic”— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 4, 2020
Political economist Stephanie Kelton on Friday told MSNBC that the convergence of expiring moratoria on evictions and student loan debt, on the one hand, and the lack of income support, on the other, is putting the U.S. on a dangerous collision course.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
Never Miss a Beat.
Get our best delivered to your inbox.
This is an economy on the verge of renewed carnage. We need *substantial* relief now. Whatever we get won’t be nearly enough. Congress needs to stand ready to provide ongoing support, as needed, come January. https://t.co/WCrQ4ybpQA— Stephanie Kelton (@StephanieKelton) December 5, 2020
This analysis was endorsed by the members of the "Squad," who insisted that it's inhumane to deny public aid to America's hard-hit households and then expect them to make payments on mounting bills.
A COVID relief bill that doesn't include:— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) December 4, 2020
enhanced UI benefits
paid sick leave
direct cash payments to individuals
national eviction & foreclosures moratoriums
fails to meet the scale & scope of the crisis we're facing.
Our communities are enduring unprecedented challenges from this pandemic. We can’t continue to implement half-hearted policies that fail to meet the moment.— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) December 3, 2020
We need policies that actually address people’s basic needs—keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table.
Unbelievable.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) December 4, 2020
People can't afford water to wash hands.
Families are crowdfunding to bury loved ones they lost to COVID-19
Renters + homeowners are losing the roof over their head.
Stimulus check now (monthly)! It would have the most impact on lives, especially children. https://t.co/DAYD4oUyr6
In addition to the lack of stimulus checks in the bipartisan legislation, progressive lawmakers also condemned as "immoral" the proposal's inclusion of a liability provision. Shielding corporations from accountability for endangering public health could disincentivize "common sense safety standards needed to protect workers and consumers," Sanders said Friday, prolonging and worsening an already "bad situation."
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that the negotiations should be made public so that people can "see who is holding stimulus checks hostage and demanding immunity for big corporations exposing workers to Covid-19."
Negotiating months on end, while the average person hasn’t been able to pay their bills is cruel. Prioritize relief for people.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 4, 2020
Percent of wages currently subsidized by governments due to COVID:
France: Up to 84%
United Kingdom: Up to 80%
Canada: Up to 75%
United States: 0% https://t.co/SVs1rgyVxq
Journalist Brian Goldstone on Friday took to social media to ask: "Remember when Steve Mnuchin suggested that the $1,200 stimulus checks would be enough to last most people 'about 10 weeks,' and was roundly criticized?"
"I just realized," he said, "that was 36 weeks ago."
Pointing out that "there is no vaccine that will cure the economic hardship that Covid-19 has caused our communities," Tlaib on Saturday said that "our country needs to get it together and start taking care of its people during a pandemic."