House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday she sees the ongoing coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to extract more concessions from Republican lawmakers to expand long-advocated progressive programs.
“I see everything as an opportunity. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity,” Pelosi said on MSNBC.
Here's Pelosi on the next round of coronavirus legislation:
“I see everything as an opportunity. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity.”
Another day, another Democrat saying the quiet part out loud.pic.twitter.com/D052FaWOJM
— Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) May 12, 2020
The same sentiments over Pelosi’s latest upcoming coronavirus relief package have been repeated by several House Democrats in recent days as the lower chamber majority prepares to unveil a wishlist of progressive proposals rather than a serious stimulus bill aimed at keeping the economy afloat during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
“The leverage is that there is enormous suffering,” Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal told Vox when asked what bargaining chips House progressives had in crafting the latest pandemic legislation.
Several House Democrats also told Politico “their latest bill feels like little more than an effort to appease the most liberal members of the caucus.”
Previous rounds of aid totaling almost $3.5 trillion across four spending bills have already fed progressive pipe-dreams with fresh funds provided to state and local governments and radically expanded unemployment benefits providing clear incentives for workers to go on government assistance rather than remain with their previous employer.
In the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in late March, Congress beefed up unemployment benefits with a flat $600 a week on top of what states were already providing without a cap on income allowing laid off workers to rake in more cash than they were previously making. The hike in benefits also allowed unemployed individuals to bring in more money at home than essential workers keeping the nation up and running.
New jobs numbers released from the Department of Labor last week reveals the United States reached record unemployment figures nearing 15 percent with more than 33 million claiming benefits from unemployment insurance.
One study from the conservative Heritage Foundation found that the rapid increase in government benefits likely inflated unemployment claims by nearly 14 million, a third of total filings up to this point. According to the pair of Heritage economists who authored the study, the median full-time American worker earning $48,000 a year would take home 15 percent more from unemployment than remaining in their full-time job.