Negotiations over a new Coronavirus-connected economic relief package have been ongoing on Capitol Hill, and this Sunday, during an appearance on ABC’s This Week with guest host Martha Raddatz, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sharply criticized President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress over their behavior during the negotiations. Some on the GOP side have been pushing, among other things, for imposing an add-on to unemployment benefits of just $200 a week, which Pelosi insisted is a completely bad faith proposal that does not actually meet Americans’ needs. Where’s Trump in all of this? Golfing! On Saturday, he yet again visited one of his courses.
Asked what she would say to the millions of Americans who recently saw their incomes drop after the expiration of a $600 a week add-on to unemployment, Pelosi told Raddatz:
‘I say to them: talk to President Trump. He’s the one standing in the way of that. We have been for the $600. They have a $200 proposal which does not meet the needs of America’s working families, and it’s a condescension, quite frankly, because they’re saying they really don’t need it, [and] they’re just staying home because they make more money at $600, so the idea that they made a proposal is really not actually factual… The fact is that they’re subjecting someone who gets $600 to scrutiny that they won’t subject somebody [to] who gets millions of dollars in the PPP. So this is about putting workers first, and the fact is, if we’re going to succeed, we must defeat the virus.’
After Democrats turned down offer of short-term extension, Speaker Pelosi says, “We have been for the $600. They have a $200 proposal which does not meet the needs of working families … the idea that they made a proposal is really not actually factual.” https://t.co/HNQgCe39RN pic.twitter.com/tnlu1Bdx3g
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 2, 2020
Trump has taken an almost entirely hands-off approach to confronting the virus. He struggles to even grasp the gravity of the situation — he’s consistently claimed that the reason that the U.S. has so many confirmed Coronavirus cases is that the country has done so much testing, which is just an utterly moronic statement. The virus would still be spreading and killing people even if not a single test was performed anywhere in the country.
Meanwhile, Trump blamed Democrats for the recent expiration of the $600 a week add-on to unemployment benefits, but — unsurprisingly — he missed the whole picture. He tweeted:
‘Pelosi & Schumer blocked desperately needed unemployment payments, which is so terrible, especially since they fully understand that it was not the workers fault that they are unemployed, it’s the fault of China!’
Trump is lying, again.
Democrats passed an extension of unemployment benefits 10 weeks ago.
Mitch McConnell refused to act until mid-July, when it was too late.
He said Republicans didn't see the "urgency of action."
They left for the weekend Thursday without passing a bill. https://t.co/c4Jza3mKvN
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) July 31, 2020
In reality, to suggest that Republicans have just been ready and waiting to pass a relief bill for this whole time is absolutely ludicrous. The Democrat-led House passed a relief bill over two months ago that would extend increased unemployment benefits until January 2021. Senate Republicans have refused to take up the proposal. Subsequently, Republicans have proposed measures like the recent effort from Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), who proposed a meager 7-day extension of unemployment benefits at the current level while relief negotiations play out.
Fact check: The HEROES Act extended enhanced unemployment through January 2021.
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) July 31, 2020
Democrats apparently do not want give Republicans a way to cop out of taking the negotiations seriously — as Pelosi noted, some of them have even wrung their hands about the supposed disincentive to work that’s inherent in giving people $600 a week. Unemployed people are struggling to provide for basic expenses like food and rent, and Republicans are apparently accusing them of being too comfortable not working.