Schumer, Pelosi set to unveil ‘Rooseveltian’ relief package
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will soon unveil a coronavirus relief package that he described as “Rooseveltian” in its scope and size.
“We need big, bold action,” Schumer said in an MSNBC interview with Stephanie Ruhle, adding that he and Pelosi “are working very closely together on putting together a very strong plan, which you will hear shortly.”
“We need Franklin Rooseveltian-type action and we hope to take that in the House and Senate in a very big and bold way,” he added.
Schumer’s remarks came in response to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) statement earlier this week that Congress needs to “take a pause” before passing more pandemic relief legislation.
Congress has passed nearly $3 trillion in aid over the past two months.
Schumer on Thursday said the fiscally cautious approach now being taken by Republicans like McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) reminded him of former President Hoover’s response to the 1929 stock market crash and the onset of the Great Depression.
“The people like McConnell and McCarthy and even [President] Trump who say, ‘Let’s wait and do nothing,’ well, they remind me of the old Herbert Hoovers. We had the Great Depression — Hoover said let’s just wait it out. It got worse and worse,” Schumer said.
Hoover famously, and wrongly, predicted a rapid economic recovery in 1930. Instead, the Great Depression lasted until 1939.
Schumer said the better course of action is to follow in the footsteps of former President Franklin Roosevelt, who oversaw the largest expansion of the federal government and is credited by many historians with helping to end the Great Depression.
Schumer noted that Congress has appropriated nearly $500 billion to set up a Treasury Department-Federal Reserve credit-lending facility with more than $4 trillion in firepower so that financial markets would not crash.
“We’ve got to have the same focus, even a stronger focus on the people — the working people, the average people who are suffering as well. We need the same kind of big, bold, tough action,” he said. “We need action here to help average folks. We’ve done some in the House and Senate, we need to do a lot more.”
The $2.2 trillion CARES Act signed into law March 27 substantially beefed up unemployment benefits by adding a $600-a-week federal bonus to workers’ state unemployment benefits, in some states boosting jobless benefits above the average hourly wage.
Democrats want to take other steps such as providing hazard pay to essential workers and disbursing hundreds of billions of dollars more to state and local governments to cover salaries for police, firefighters, teachers and sanitation workers.
Nearly 3.2 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week, bringing the past seven-week total of claims to 33.5 million, according to the Labor Department.
Despite the new jobless figures, which were reported Thursday morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500,and the NASDAQ were all up more than 1 percent in trading for the day.