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‘Just calm down,’ says Pelosi, when asked if she made tactical error in Covid-19 relief fight with McConnell

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Nancy Pelosi and Jake Tapper (Screenshot)

“It’s no use going on to what might have been,” said Democratic Speaker of the House on Sunday morning when asked about her legislative strategy against Republicans.

Amid growing criticism from progressives and increased anxiety among the nation’s working families, small business owners, and local and state governments that economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic will come too late and be too little, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday told television viewers to “just calm down” when asked if she had erred in her legislative strategy with the Trump White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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Asked by CNN‘s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” if she had made a “tactical mistake” by allowing an “interim” piece of coronavirus relief package—known as COVID 3.5—to pass last week without much stronger support for state and local governments, Pelosi deflected on the premise.

“Just calm down,” Pelosi said. “We will have state and local and we will have it in a significant way. It’s no use going on to what might have been.”

Pelosi argued that Democrats “made the most of” the interim package—moving McConnell to a large expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses—but promised once again that a larger package was on its way.

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Pelosi said local and state lawmakers, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are right to be frustrated in terms of lack of emergency funding for local governments. “They should be impatient,” Pelosi said, “and their impatience with help us” get a bigger package and more funding in the Democrats’ CARES 2 package, now being drawn up in the House.

On the interim package, widely criticized as a capitulation to McConnell and a forfeiture of key political leverage, Pelosi told the American people, “Judge it for what it does, don’t criticize it for what it doesn’t—because we have a plan for that.”

While McConnell was pilloried last week for suggesting that states should be sent to bankruptcy as opposed to receiving funds, Democrats have said a large aid package to state and local governments will be a key part of their CARES 2 legislation.

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As Common Dreams reported Friday in the wake of the Trump’s signing the COVID 3.5. bill into law, progressive advocates said the Democrats’ repeated kicking of the can down the road is no longer acceptable.

“‘Just wait until the next bill’ is not good enough anymore,” Morris Pearl, chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, said in a statement. “If these are truly legislative priorities for members of Congress, as they should be, they need to start fighting for them.”

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In a letter (pdf) to Pelosi and Senate Minority Chuck Schumer at the end of last week, nearly 50 progressive advocacy groups said that as Republicans attempt to exploit the coronavirus crisis to “further enrich their already-wealthy donors, and undermine democracy,” Democrats “must put forth and fight for a relief package that puts people first.”

“We need Democrats to be bold and fearless in fighting for our families and our communities, advancing solutions that are commensurate with the scale of the crisis we face and helping us build toward a better future for ​our people, our economy and our democracy,” the groups wrote.

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COVID-19

Swedish scientists are working on a radical COVID-19 blocker involving alpacas

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Tyson the alpaca could hold the key to developing a process to block the coronavirus. FRANCE 24's Catherine Norris-Trent and James André report from the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Leading scientists in Stockholm are working on a pioneering treatment involving llamas and alpacas such as Tyson in the fight against Covid-19.

"Tyson has the antibodies against SARS-Covid-2 virus," explains Dr Gerald McInerney, Associate Professor of Virology at the Karolinska Institute. "Camels, and alpacas and llamas and other animals from that family have special, small single-chain antibodies.Tiny antibodies they've proved can block Covid-19."

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COVID-19

Van Morrison rails against virus restrictions in new songs

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Music legend Van Morrison said on Friday he has recorded three "protest songs" against the UK government's coronavirus lockdown measures, in which he reportedly accuses scientists of "making up crooked facts".

The Northern Irish singer-songwriter will release the new tracks -- named "Born To Be Free", "As I Walked Out", and "No More Lockdown" -- at two-week intervals from September 25.

"Morrison makes it clear in his new songs how unhappy he is with the way the government has taken away personal freedoms," a statement said on his website announcing the releases.

In one of the trio of records, the musician sings: "No more government overreach / No more fascist bullies / Disturbing our peace."

In another, he sings: "No more taking of our freedom / And our God given rights / Pretending it's for our safety / When it's really to enslave."

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‘We’re screwed’: New details emerge about Jared Kushner’s refusal to help battle COVID-19

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Jared Kushner resisted taking a role in fighting the coronavirus pandemic from the very beginning, according to a new report about the White House response.

A bipartisan group of heavy hitters and business leaders met March 20 at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to discuss how to make and distribute personal protective equipment, and certain government officials urged them to return the next day to meet with President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser, reported Vanity Fair.

“The federal government is not going to lead this response,” Kushner told the group at the start of the meeting, seated in a chair taller than the others around the conference table. “It’s up to the states to figure out what they want to do.”

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