Some Republicans and Democrats have come together in recent days to agree on one thing: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “compromise” coronavirus bill is not good enough.
In fact, a slew of progressives and liberal journalists have been pointing out glaring weaknesses in the coronavirus relief bill pushed by House Democrats.
At least two Senate Republicans said publicly that bolder initiatives offering direct assistance to Americans during the pandemic should be included in a relief package.
“Every American adult should immediately receive $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy,” said Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney.
Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton also said House Democrats were insufficiently ambitious in their plan to assist Americans, officially called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
The bill includes free coronavirus testing for all Americans, strengthened nutritional assistance and unemployment programs, and paid sick leave.
However, it leaves millions of Americans out of the latter provision, allowing large companies employing more than 500 people to forgo paid sick leave for workers.
“The House relief bill doesn’t go far enough and fast enough,” Cotton tweeted. “We’re going to do everything we can to get cash into the hands of affected workers and families as quickly as possible so we can all get through this pandemic together.”
“If you’ve got the virus, if you’ve been quarantined because you’ve been exposed to the virus if your business has been shut down, or even if you have to stay home to care for a child because school is closed, you should not worry about buying the groceries, paying the car payments, paying your rent,” Cotton said.
Cotton appeared on Fox News to express his views on the bill:
The House relief bill doesn’t go far enough & fast enough.
We’re going to do everything we can to get cash into the hands of affected workers & families as quickly as possible so we can all get through this pandemic together. pic.twitter.com/VrgiK0MvTf
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) March 16, 2020
The comments from Romney and Cotton drew the attention of Sanders’ senior policy advisor, Alex Jacquez.
Eileen Appelbaum, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, called the House bill “egregious” in an op-ed published Monday at Common Dreams.
“The [paid sick leave provision] excludes workers at big companies like Whole Foods and McDonald’s as well as those at Walmart and Target, whose CEOs appeared with President Trump on Friday afternoon as he declared a national health emergency,” Appelbaum wrote.
Journalist Adam Johnson sided with Romney’s and Cotton’s calls for more far-reaching assistance and denounced Pelosi.
because it doesn't at all. They're obviously cynical phonies but this is what happens when the most powerful democrat in the country is a conservative deficit scold who constantly nickel and dimes emergency relief bills during a mass crisis https://t.co/UTlKkd7Wfl
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) March 16, 2020
While acknowledging that the Republicans’ comments suggested that “the political ground is shifting very, very fast” regarding support needed for Americans, liberal reporter Ryan Cooper of The Week also criticized the Democratic leaders for failing to fight for workers themselves.
the political ground is shifting very very fast https://t.co/deHbM5M4ZG
— ryan cooper (@ryanlcooper) March 16, 2020
New York socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also took issue with the bill, warning that Republican calls for a temporary universal basic income didn’t go far enough.
She didn’t necessarily attack Pelosi, but she didn’t throw her support behind the bill.
People have harped on me about “Trojan horse” comments I’ve made before abt UBI policies,but seriously: not every UBI policy is created equal.
Some are structured in predatory ways to gut the safety net & reward banks, others are better w/people’s well-being in mind. Be careful.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 16, 2020
The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the House bill on Wednesday providing billions of dollars to limit the damage from the coronavirus pandemic through free testing, paid sick leave, and expanded safety-net spending.
Lawmakers in the Republican-led Senate largely set aside their ideological divisions, passing the legislation by a bipartisan vote of 90 to 8.