Pelosi, Schumer say GOP Senate coronavirus bill is 'selling out working families'

Pelosi, Schumer say GOP Senate coronavirus bill is 'selling out working families'
© Bonnie Cash

Democratic leaders are accusing the GOP of “selling out” working Americans with its new coronavirus relief proposal just hours before they are set to reconvene with Republicans for negotiations.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLiz Cheney says her father is 'deeply troubled' about the state of the Republican Party 19 House Democrats call on Capitol physician to mandate vaccines Ohio special election: A good day for Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerYouth organizations call on Biden to ensure 'bold' climate investments New York Times calls on Cuomo to resign 'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium MORE (D-N.Y.) released a joint statement Tuesday afternoon tearing into the Republican plan, which was released late Monday and immediately met with criticism from liberal lawmakers who say it does not go far enough.

“Two and a half months after Democrats delivered the solutions to defeating the virus and safely reopening the country in The Heroes Act, the Senate GOP has now come back with a weak, piecemeal proposal that will only prolong the suffering for millions of workers and families across America,” Pelosi and Schumer said. “The Senate GOP proposal is a sad statement of their values, selling out struggling families at the kitchen table in order to enrich the corporate interests at the boardroom table.” 

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The Democrats particularly criticized a cut in expanded federal unemployment insurance (UI) from $600 a week to $200 a week, the lack of an extension for a moratorium on evictions and the liability protection provided to employers against COVID-19 lawsuits, among other things. 

The statement came just over an hour before Pelosi and Schumer are scheduled to meet with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election Democrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsWhat Trump's enemies are missing Meadows says Trump World looking to 'move forward in a real way' Trump takes two punches from GOP MORE, who are heading up negotiations for the administration.

“Catastrophe is looming, and until Senate Republicans get serious, they must answer to every hungry child, every family that cannot make rent, every worker being denied their UI for their delays. Democrats remain ready to work with Republicans on real solutions to bring immediate relief and save lives and livelihoods,” the statement concludes.

The flood of criticism from Democrats of the GOP’s plan indicates negotiations could be a long haul despite pressure to reach a deal quickly in the face of the expiring federal unemployment assistance.

The process has been delayed by internal GOP fissures that pushed back the release of the Republican plan from last week to Monday. 

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Seizing on the Republican divisions and fueled by public predictions from GOP senators that possibly half of the party could vote against a negotiated bill, Democrats are confident they will hold significant leverage in talks with Mnuchin and Meadows even if they don’t ultimately get everything that was included in the $3 trillion HEROES Act the House passed in May.

“They know this can’t get passed and they have a president and a country that needs a bill, so eventually they’re going to have to negotiate with Democrats in earnest,” a Democratic senator told The Hill

“We should write this bill mostly on our terms,” the senator said.