House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday said that the apparent election of presumptive potential President-elect Joe Biden is a major reason she will embrace a coronavirus relief proposal she rejected prior to the election.
For months, House Democrats have been calling for a bill that would spend more than $2 trillion on various Democratic programs that were part of the House’s coronavirus relief bill. The House has routinely rejected proposals from the Republican-majority Senate, which has wanted to spend much less.
On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed a $908 billion proposal to avoid a federal government shutdown.
The bill includes $240 billion in aid to governments, revival of the “paycheck protection” subsidies for businesses and $180 billion to continue keeping jobless benefits at $300 per week. The bill does not include another round of direct payments, which has been a major Democratic demand.
However, on Friday, Pelosi said she was hopeful that the bill to keep government operating for the rest of the fiscal year could cover coronavirus relief.
During her weekly news conference, she was asked why she has changed her tune after months of insisting the House version had to be adopted by the Senate and President Donald Trump.
“Perhaps you missed what I said earlier. Joe Biden committed to ending and crushing the virus and having a Build Back Better America initiative, Build Back Better,” she said.
She also cited the results of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed project without mentioning the president.
“A vaccine — answer to our prayers, an answer to our prayers — of 95 percent effectiveness in terms of Pfizer and Moderna, and there may be others coming forward. That makes — that is a total game‑changer: a new president and a vaccine,” she said.
She said the new proposal is for “a shorter period of time, but that’s OK now because we have a new president — a president who recognizes that we need to depend on science to stop the virus, a president who understands that America’s working families need to have money in their pockets in a way that takes them into the future, without any of the contraptions of any of the other bills that the Administration was associating itself with before.”
Pelosi for months has said she wouldn’t accept half-a-loaf on stimulus – but now they’re looking at a $900 billion deal affer Pelosi had been pushing for $2.2 trillion. So I asked her if it were a mistake not to accept half-a-loaf months ago. “It was not a mistake,” she shot back
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 4, 2020
McConnell: “The Speaker of the House spent the entire summer and the entire autumn literally gambling with the health and welfare of the American people.”
— Doug Andres (@DougAndres) November 30, 2020
If Nancy Pelosi agrees to this it will be a shameful betrayal. The liability shield should be a dealbreaker. Bloodthirsty lunatics like Ron DeSantis will weaponize it, forcing people into unsafe working conditions with no recourse to fairness or even safety. https://t.co/jzJm5sWpKg
— WE ARE NOT THINGS 🆘️ (@batshitsutras) December 1, 2020
Pelosi was then asked if it was a mistake not to have accepted an even larger proposal she rejected in October as “half a loaf.”
“Look, I’m going to tell you something. Don’t characterize what we did before as a mistake as a preface to your question, if you want an answer. That was not a mistake, it was a decision,” she said.
“And it has taken us to a place where we can do the right thing without other, shall we say, considerations in the legislation that we don’t want. No. That was it,” she said. “Now, the fact is, I’m very proud of where we are.”
Pelosi’s embrace of the bill puts her at odds with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a leading figure among the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
“The American people need help and they need help now. In my view, we have got to make sure that every working class American receives at least $1,200 in direct payments and that we do not provide a liability shield to corporations who break the law,” Sanders said in a statement.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to significantly improve this bill. But, in its current form, I cannot support it.”
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