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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: Following debate, Biden hammers Trump on coronavirus | Study: Universal mask-wearing could save 130,000 lives | Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight On The Money: Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight | Landlords, housing industry sue CDC to overturn eviction ban Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight 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 ScaliseMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats Cedric Richmond's next move: 'Sky's the limit' if Biden wins 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) GaetzCongressional antitrust report rips tech firms for stifling competition Loeffler tweets edited video showing Trump taking down coronavirus in wrestling match Why is Florida screaming about the pay-to-vote system it created? 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 MitchellGOP lawmaker calls Trump-Biden debate 'an embarrassment' Overnight Defense: Congress recommends nuclear arms treaty be extended | Dems warn Turkey | Military's eighth COVID death identified Bipartisan congressional task force recommends extending nuclear treaty with Russia 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 HawleyJustice Department charges Google with illegally maintaining search monopoly Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform Hillicon Valley: Trump refuses to condemn QAnon | Twitter revises its policy, lets users share disputed article | Google sees foreign cyber threats 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) RyanNow's the time to make 'Social Emotional Learning' a national priority Mourners gather outside Supreme Court after passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lincoln Project hits Trump for criticizing Goodyear, 'an American company' MORE (D-Ohio) and Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaDozens of legal experts throw weight behind Supreme Court term limit bill Expiring benefits raise economic stakes of stalled stimulus talks Overnight Defense: Pentagon IG to audit use of COVID-19 funds on contractors | Dems optimistic on blocking Trump's Germany withdrawal | Obama slams Trump on foreign policy 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 JayapalOcasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Pocan won't seek another term as Progressive Caucus co-chair Poll shows Biden leading Trump, tight House race in key Nebraska district 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.