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GOP lawmakers slam proposals for guaranteed income amid pandemic

GOP lawmakers slam proposals for guaranteed income amid pandemic
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House Republicans are pushing back on the idea of providing a minimum guaranteed income to Americans amid the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Biden: US to hit 200M vaccine target on Wednesday | House Dems to unveil drug pricing measure ahead of Biden package | FDA finds multiple failures at J&J plant House Dems to unveil drug pricing measure ahead of Biden package House Democrats eye passing DC statehood bill for second time MORE (D-Calif.) expressed an openness to the concept on Monday during an interview with MSNBC while discussing the financial aid recently approved by Congress to help bolster the economy. 

“Let’s see what works, what is operational and what needs attention,” she said.

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“Others have suggested a minimum income, a guaranteed income for people. Is that worthy of attention now? Perhaps so," Pelosi continued. "Because there are many more people than just in small business and hired by small business ... that may need some assistance as well.”

While Congress previously passed coronavirus relief measures that included provisions to provide up to $1,200 to individuals and forgivable loans to small businesses, proponents of a universal basic income have argued that Congress needs to do more to help Americans stay afloat. 

However, top GOP lawmakers are accusing Democrats of attempting to use the pandemic to move policy to the left, blasting the proposal as fiscally irresponsible and opportunistic. 

“It’s incredibly tone-deaf of Speaker Pelosi to continue using this crisis to push these radical socialist ideas that have been consistently rejected,” House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseGOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Scalise dismisses comparison between Waters, Trump comments before Capitol riots MORE (R-La.) said. “What we should be focused on is responsibly implementing the relief packages we passed to get trillions of dollars directly into the hands of families and businesses so the American people have jobs and an economy to come back to when we finally reopen.”

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) echoed Scalise’s sentiments, arguing that Congress should be working on a plan to get the economy back on track after the pandemic. 

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“Congressional Democrats already told us they’re taking advantage of a crisis to turn America into a socialist country. They admitted this pandemic is a ‘tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit [their] vision,’ ” Banks said, referring to a comment made by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.). “Republicans, on the other hand, are trying to provide temporary relief to preserve the strong Trump economy we had before the pandemic.” 

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After historic verdict, Chauvin led away in handcuffs House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Jeffries roasts McCarthy over Waters: 'Clean up your own mess' MORE (R-Fla.) also blasted Democrats for considering the idea.

"The Speaker’s comments reaffirm that Republicans are the party of working Americans while Democrats prefer diminished productivity, hundreds of millions for illegal aliens, upgrades to the Kennedy Center and bailouts for states that made bad decisions before COVID-19 ever escaped the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Gaetz told The Hill.

There has been no evidence that the coronavirus outbreak originated from a research lab in Wuhan.

Meanwhile, others have argued that they don’t believe creating another safety net is necessary, pointing out that there are already programs in place that can be utilized to help those struggling financially. 

“We already have a universal basic income — it's called work. We also have [Social Security Disability Insurance] SSDI for people who are unable to work physically or due to disabilities. We have security if you're older, they've earned it,” Rep. Paul MitchellPaul MitchellUnnamed law enforcement banned under the new NDAA Growing number of House Republicans warm to proxy voting Juan Williams: The GOP's betrayal of America MORE (R-Mich.) told The Hill.  

“We have a variety of forms of support for people like unemployment compensation and public assistance for purely short-term assistance," Mitchell continued, "so I'm trying to understand exactly what [Pelosi] wants to do besides throw more money at people.”

While the idea of a standard income has faced strong opposition from the GOP, members of both parties have floated proposals for additional federal assistance to be provided to individuals and businesses amid the pandemic. 

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyOn The Money: Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl | Senate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term | Left-leaning group raises concerns about SALT cap repeal RNC raises nearly M in record off-year March donations Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl MORE (R-Mo.) has proposed for the federal government to pay 80 percent of workers' wages through the end of the pandemic. And Reps. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanBusinessman Mike Gibbons jumps into GOP Senate race in Ohio Biden's gun control push poses danger for midterms Trump faces test of power with early endorsements MORE (D-Ohio) and Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaHillicon Valley: Tech companies duke it out at Senate hearing | Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech Lawmakers reintroduce bill to invest billions to compete with China in tech Lawmakers demand justice for Adam Toledo: 'His hands were up. He was unarmed' MORE (D-Calif.) have proposed for those making less than $130,000 a year to receive a monthly payment of at least $2,000.  

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOn The Money: Yellen touts 'whole-of-economy' plan to fight climate change | Senate GOP adopts symbolic earmark ban, digs in on debt limit House passes bill aimed at stopping future Trump travel ban Sanders, Jayapal introduce bill to make college tuition-free for many Americans MORE (D-Wash.), a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, introduced a measure that would create a program to provide a federal guarantee for 100 percent of workers’ salaries up to $100,000 for up to three months. 

Updated: April 30, 10:41 a.m.