Pelosi: Republicans have a ‘disdain’ for working Americans

Bonnie Cash

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said late Wednesday that the Republican Party has a “disdain” toward working people as the lawmakers continue to clash during stalled negotiations over the next coronavirus stimulus package.

CNN host Anderson Cooper asked Pelosi if there was any progress made toward helping working-class people, with the added unemployment benefits included in the March coronavirus relief package set to formally expire on Friday.

Pelosi responded by saying her colleagues across the aisle do not trust how Americans without a job are using the additional $600 weekly federal benefit during the pandemic.

“While they have a disdain or sort of a condescension toward working people it seems because they don’t trust how they might use the $600. That kind of thing. ‘Oh, they have money to pay the rent.  They are just not paying the rent,’ ” she said.

“We cannot operate if we’re not even stipulating to a basic set of facts: the people are hurting, that unemployment is high and that we have a way to address this in terms of honoring heroes, testing, tracing, treatment as well as money in the pockets of the American people, being respectful of them and understanding their needs,” she added.

Her remarks come amid stalled negotiations over unemployment benefits — which have emerged as the major sticking point for the chances of a bipartisan deal.

Democrats want to extend the $600 added benefit through the end of the year. Republicans, meanwhile, are proposing switching to a 70 percent wage replacement match. During the two-month transition to the new system, the federal government would provide a $200 per week federal unemployment benefit.

The White House and Senate Republicans rolled out their own $1 trillion coronavirus relief package on Monday. But it faces an uphill climb, with several GOP senators pouring cold water on it and even President Trump calling it “semi irrelevant.” 

The GOP package is being dismissed as a non-starter by Democrats who say it falls short of providing enough money for state and local governments, fails to protect renters from eviction and doesn’t invest enough in lower-income communities hit hard by the pandemic.

“Leader McConnell said, ‘We need a pause.’  Then came back this Monday with a piecemeal.  Well, that’s not — this is as big as it gets, a plague that has an impact on our economy. And it’s about the lives of the American people, the livelihood of the American people and the life of our democracy,” Pelosi said on Wednesday. 

The Speaker also told CNN that following science is a central point to combating the coronavirus pandemic and boosting the economy. 

“But if you don’t believe in science and you don’t believe in governance, as they don’t seem to, then that makes it more problematic,” Pelosi said. 

— This report was updated at 8:44 a.m.

Tags Anderson Cooper coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 pandemic Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi Republican Party Stimulus Package Unemployment benefits

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