Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive Democrats have found an unlikely ally in their call for larger stimulus checks to help Americans weather the pandemic: President Donald Trump.
After years of demonizing them as socialists, Trump effectively sided with progressives as he demanded that Congress revisit the just-passed coronavirus package to boost individual payments to $2,000. Democrats seized on the moment, with Ocasio-Cortez saying she had legislation ready to go and challenging Republicans to join them.
Congress’s progressive caucus, led by Washington Representative Pramila Jayapal, have for months been calling for larger direct payments, which some Democrats have rebranded as “survival checks.”
“$600 was never going to be enough for people to withstand this crisis,” Jayapal tweeted Wednesday. “It’s time to send out $2,000 survival checks as quickly as possible — and make them recurring.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would seek unanimous support in the House Thursday on a similar bill to replace the $600 in the current bill with the $2,000 stimulus payments Trump demanded. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Republicans in a private call Wednesday that Pelosi’s move would fail.
Still, Trump’s support for larger payments bolsters progressives’ demand — if not in this round of coronavirus relief, then in the next package Congress tries to pass after Joe Biden is sworn in as president.
Earlier this month, 17 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent aletter to to lawmakers calling for unemployment insurance to be extended for at least six months and for recurring direct payments of at least $2,000.
It wasn’t just Democrats who pushed for larger payments to individuals. Conservative Senator Josh Hawley said he wanted at least $1,200. Hawley teamed up with progressive Senator Bernie Sanders to push for larger payments, but their bill was blocked by Republican Senator Ron Johnson.
The negotiators are saying they could only find enough $$ for $600/ person relief checks for working people. But mark my words, there will be hundreds of BILLIONS spent on special interests, banks, and government5:30 PM · Dec 21, 2020
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