The Squad demands new relief checks as part of Covid stimulus

Many coronavirus aide programs are weeks away from expiring and Congress doesn’t have a new deal in place

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Friday 04 December 2020 19:27
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Pelosi jousts with reporters over reversal on slimmed-down Covid relief package

Progressive congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib called for another round of coronavirus stimulus checks, as Congress continues to dither on passing a new relief package with unemployment and rental aid supporting millions weeks from expiring.

“People can't afford water to wash hands,” Ms Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, tweeted on Thursday. “Families are crowdfunding to bury loved ones they lost to COVID-1. Renters + homeowners are losing the roof over their head. Stimulus check now (monthly)! It would have the most impact on lives, especially children.”

She also noted that the idea of more stimulus checks has broad bipartisan support across the country, if not in Congress.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, backed her up in a tweet on Friday, joking that the popular measure was “another day on the radical left with our crazy ideas."

Congress has been deadlocked for months over passing a new round of coronavirus relief, and negotiators reportedly aren’t considering another round of $1200 stimulus checks as part of a proposed $908 billion spending package that’s gaining momentum on Capitol Hill.  

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and House speaker Nancy Pelosi had talks on Thursday, their first since the election, about hammering out a comprompose.

“We had a good conversation,” Mr McConnell told the Washington Post. “I think we’re both interested in getting an outcome, both on the [spending bill] and on a coronavirus package.”

The $908 billion package, introduced by a bipartisan group of moderate senators on Tuesday, is less than previous proposals from House Democrats but more than previous Republican asks.

The president also said he wants a deal soon, telling reporters, “I think we are getting very close. I want it to happen.”

If Congress doesn’t do something soon, three different interrelated crises will converge. Federal unemployment benefits supporting nearly 14 million people are set to expire the last weekend of December, and a federal eviction ban protecting as many as 19 million people ends on 31 December. What’s more, even before those programs cut off, Congress is a week from yet another government shutdown unless it passes a new spending bill.

Other countries have taken more aggressive approaches to giving economic aid to their citizens, whether it was Canada’s four-month long $1400 lost income payments, or countries like France and The Netherlands replacing a majority of a worker’s lost wages.

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