Poor People's Campaign pushes for COVID-19 relief

Rev. William Barber II, founder of the Poor People's Campaign, told Hill.TV's "Rising" on Wednesday that the coronavirus crisis will "exponentially" increase the number of Americans under the poverty line in America, and called for more federal support for low-income families.

In an interview, Rev. Barber called it "criminal" that the U.S. was not doing more to support the neediest Americans, including those struggling with homelessness and undocumented immigrants.

"To us, it's criminal that...the first three bills gave more than 2 trillion dollars...to the corporations at the top and did not reach the people at the bottom. 140 million people were basically ignored [in the coronavirus stimulus packages]," Barber said.

"Essential workers were basically ignored. [And] in the midst of a pandemic, we're not providing health care for everyone. That's criminal, it's ridiculous," he added.

Barber went on to predict that economic pressure felt by the lowest-income Americans would have a ripple effect for the rest of the economy.

His comments come as more than 36 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits in recent weeks, and many nonessential businesses in states around the country remain closed.

The House last week passed another major stimulus package, though the bill has little GOP support and is not likely to be taken up in the Senate.