Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposed $1 trillion coronavirus economic relief plan favored corporations over families and was “a non-starter” in a Friday letter to Democrats.
Known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the proposed legislation calls for individuals to receive $1,200 in direct help. That number would rise to $2,400 in households where two people file income tax joint returns.
Normally scheduled for April, the deadline for filing income taxes would be bumped to July 2020.
“We need to deliver relief now,” McConnell told the Senate on Friday. “We need to go big. We need to minimize new complexity. And we need to move swiftly.”
Democrats, however, pointed out the CARES Act’s tax breaks for businesses which would include the deferment of employer payroll tax payment for, at the maximum, two years.
In her letter, Pelosi described McConnell’s proposal as “not at all pro-worker and [the proposal] puts corporations ahead of working people. As written, it is a non-starter.”
Newsweek reached out to McConnell’s office but did not receive a response in time for publication.
“First and foremost,” Pelosi’s letter continued, “our response must address the coronavirus outbreak as the public health crisis that it is: rebuilding our health care infrastructure on a national scale and securing the resources to test and treat everyone. We must do everything that we can to support doctors and scientists as they pursue treatments, a cure and a vaccine.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also criticized McConnell’s proposal Friday, telling the Senate that it “does not do nearly enough to address the public health crisis in terms of hospitals, medical supplies, beds, doctors, nurses, measures that ensure that Americans can access and afford coronavirus treatment.”
Other Democrats say McConnell’s plan does not go far enough in funding medical workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic battle.
In a Thursday statement, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy said the proposal “fails to invest in programs the American people will rely on during this crisis, which have already begun to reach a breaking point.”
“This proposal contains no funding for first responders, child care, schools, help for the homeless, or veterans medical care, to name a few,” Leahy continued, adding that McConnell’s proposal “has delayed bipartisan negotiations for days.”
Democrats proposed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in March which included paid sick leave, free coronavirus testing and expanded funding for nutrition assistance programs. Unemployment insurance would also be extended to individuals affected by coronavirus. That plan was signed into law Wednesday by President Donald Trump.
While some Republicans including McConnell had some objections to the Democratic proposal, McConnell encouraged his colleagues to pass the bill.
“A number of my members think there are considerable shortcomings to the House bill,” McConnell said Tuesday. “My counsel to them is to gag and vote for it anyway, even if they think it has shortcomings.”