The bipartisan package proposal would expand supplemental unemployment insurance. Under the CARES Act, $600 in benefits were allocated to those who lose their jobs due to the pandemic. The new "March to Common Ground" framework would pay out $450 for eight weeks, before increasing the figure to $600. The Problem Solvers Caucus' offer also includes $25 billion to address the looming eviction crisis and $100 billion for health care programs.
Pelosi Is Blocking Second Skinny Stimulus Plan, Now From Moderate Dems
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday dismissed a new coronavirus relief bill introduced by a bipartisan group of about 50 centrist Democrats and Republican lawmakers as Congress remains deadlocked on another round of relief amid the pandemic.
The Problem Solvers Caucus, a group led by Democratic Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Republican Tom Reed of New York, proposed a slimmed-down $1.52 trillion package, which included a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks. The amount is still about one trillion short of Pelosi's latest demand of $2.5 trillion, however, it represents one trillion more than the latest Republican senate proposal of $500 billion.
Pelosi denied calls from her own party to vote on the moderate package and stood firm behind her decision to hold out for a larger price tag.
"What we want is to put something on the floor that will become law," the Democrat said on MSNBC. "We did come down."
"We can only go so far."
President Donald Trump and the Republican party have accused Pelosi of using the pandemic to further the Democratic political agenda as Americans grow impatient over the stimulus deadlock. Pelosi denied the allegation while maintaining that the GOP continues to fail in allocating sufficient relief funds to address the ongoing crisis.
"It isn't about finger pointing and it isn't about machinations. It is about meeting the needs of the American people," she said. "Right now, we need to do more that have Republicans check a box."
Millions of Americans have been left with no federal funding as the money provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has largely been used. The months-long partisan gridlock has left Republicans in Washington doubting that a deal will be passed.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered his most pessimistic assessment of a possible deal since negotiations kicked off a few months ago. "We have been in a challenging period. Regretfully, I can't tell you today we're going to get there," he said. "I wish I could tell you we were going to get another package, but it doesn't look that good right now."
The bipartisan package proposal would expand supplemental unemployment insurance. Under the CARES Act, $600 in benefits were allocated to those who lose their jobs due to the pandemic. The new "March to Common Ground" framework would pay out $450 for eight weeks, before increasing the figure to $600.
The Problem Solvers Caucus' offer also includes $25 billion to address the looming eviction crisis and $100 billion for health care programs.
Pelosi elaborated on her response to the college student with an awkward economics lesson. She explained that corporate CEOs began making more money than their workers, thereby broadening income and wealth inequality. Despite grasping this explanation of income and wealth inequality, Pelosi somehow feels that the political status quo, which has only increased inequality, will somehow render a solution to the problem that it caused.
Pelosi’s solution is maintaining the “capitalist safety net,” with things like unemployment benefits, failing to acknowledge the gig economy or the fact that some corporations keep their employees under 30 hours a week, making them ineligible to receive these benefits.
She then went on to argue that fixing wealth inequality is as simple as changing wealthy people’s minds about having to be wealthy. “We have to change the thinking of people,” she said. “The free market is a place that can do good things.” Pelosi didn’t cite expanding welfare programs, increasing job opportunities, or repatriating the billions of dollars in taxes that corporations and wealthy individuals evade by using loopholes or tax havens abroad. Pelosi instead made the elitist argument that millionaires and billionaires can somehow be coerced to be compassionate and more philanthropic.
Oxfam recently reported that eight billionaires have as much wealth as the world’s 3.6 billion poorest people, 50 percent of the global population. Many of those billionaires listed, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Carlos Slim actively and/or financially supported Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. The current Democratic Party represents the billionaire and millionaire donors, not the working and middle class. However, Pelosi doesn’t see that as a problem. Her excuse for resisting change is that if Democrats held power in all the branches of government, then they could enact legislation to make the perpetuators of wealth inequality compassionate enough to share their wealth with the masses.
This is the problem with the Democratic Party; they don’t see corporate and financial power as something that needs to be challenged, but something that must be partnered with to get anything done. This neo-liberal mode of thinking is what has made the Democratic Party grossly disconnected with voters. Given it’s leadership is still obsessed with working on behalf of the elitist status quo, this disconnect is unlikely to change anytime soon.