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Tue May 12, 2020, 12:30 PM

House Democrats finalize the people's COVID-19 bailout with almost every essential thing

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/5/12/1944520/-House-Democrats-finalize-the-people-s-COVID-19-bailout-with-every-essential-thing#read-more


House Democrats finalize the people's COVID-19 bailout with almost every essential thing
Joan McCarter
Daily Kos Staff
Tuesday May 12, 2020 · 10:18 AM EDT


The House is delaying its return until Friday as leadership continues to craft the next big—really big—coronavirus response bill, a draft of which is expected as soon as Tuesday, but probably Wednesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged her Democratic colleagues to "Think Big," quoting Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. She wrote: "We must 'Think Big' For The People now, because if we don't, it will cost more later. Not acting is the most expensive course."

Thinking big is precisely what early reports are suggesting. CARES 2 (the previous bill was the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act) will provide more help to hospitals and medical workers, to small businesses, and to workers and families. A lot more help—it’s expected to come in above the $2.2 trillion provided in CARES 1. There are eight key provisions identified by reports from The Hill, including: state and local funding; rent and mortgage assistance; direct cash payments; funding for workers and small businesses; expanding broadband; ramping up coronavirus testing and tracing; an infusion of funds to the Post Office and funds for states to create systems for an all-mail election; and a 15% increase in funds for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps.

First off, the testing. Last week former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tom Frieden testified before a House committee and said that we should be testing at "at least two or three times the current volume" in order to safely reopen the country. Pelosi says the bill will provide billions more in funding for testing. "The sooner we can identify the scale of this problem with the testing, testing, testing, tracing, [and] treatment, the sooner we'll be able to open up our economy,” Pelosi said on Sunday. "Not to do that is to prolong this."

Now to the stuff that will help people live in the meantime. The House wants to staunch the financial bleeding in state and local governments with "three separate buckets of local government funding: one for states, another for counties, and yet another for municipalities," and a price tag approaching $1 trillion. That will keep public sector jobs and help states avoid doing things like slashing Medicaid and laying off essential services workers.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program will reportedly provide $100 billion for families to pay mortgages, rent, and utilities.That will be boosted by $2,000 relief checks paid monthly to "most Americans" for the duration of the pandemic. "Direct payments, unemployment insurance, rental and mortgage help and student loan assistance are essential to relieve the fear that many families are facing," Pelosi wrote in her letter to colleagues. Further details on who counts as "most Americans" and what limits they will place on the program aren't immediately available. Pelosi has also said they're considering language to keep water utilities from cutting off services to customers for nonpayment. All this is big, and it’s important for keeping people secure during the crisis.

So is the next part: either making the Paycheck Protection Program—the small business loans in CARES—work better for underserved business owners, or even better: scrapping it for a much better idea, something like the Paycheck Guarantee Act from Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) that provides federal grants (instead of loans) to employers to cover the costs of payroll and health benefits for their workers. This would be a much more direct way of keeping businesses afloat than making them take on additional debt. That leaves out the bankers, which will make it a big fight with Mitch McConnell's Senate, but it will help delineate who really matters to them: the bankers, or the small businesses they all say they revere.

They are planning on including as much as $80 billion to expand and improve broadband service to rural, low-income, and other vulnerable communities. "Just as the Great Depression made clear to many that electricity was the 'next greatest thing' in the 20th century, the coronavirus pandemic is making clear to all that broadband is the 'next greatest thing' for many in the 21st century," Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), who authored the provision, said last week. It's not just the next greatest thing—it's essential. As is the Post Office, which could get at least $25 billion in direct aid in the bill. In addition to that, they're eyeing as much as $4 billion to go to states specifically for creating mail-in balloting for November's election.

Addressing the horrifying number of deaths and the massive unemployment numbers, Pelosi wrote to her colleagues that they "require action that we have never had to take before. This is an historic challenge and therefore momentous opportunity for us to meet the needs of all Americans." Everything in the bill is essential, and has been for weeks. It probably would have been better dropping it a month ago, directly on the heels of the CARES Act when there was still momentum and urgency, but it's not too late for everything in this bill to save the country. And it's going to take a massive response from the public to force McConnell to swallow it.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:32 PM

1. Moscow Mitch has news for us, saving American lives is the opposite of what he has been tasked to do

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:33 PM

2. But will it survive Bitchy Mitchy?

This ain't a boatload of cocaine hidden the coal, you know.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:42 PM

3. save $ - no stimulus for registered repubs - they are against this sort of thing anyway nt

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:43 PM

4. What?

Give money to the people? Monthly? Pay them to stay home and deprive them of the dignity of work and the inevitability of sickness and death, instead of cracking the whip and starving them and their children into compliance?

That does not correspond with Republican family values and rugged individualism. Damn communists are trying to take over right there!!! Socialism and welfare are only for corporations and certain deadbeat states.

Oh, and to hell with the idea that people need to have money to spend in order to have any economy, at home or during a recovery. Corporations are hungry beasts so they will get their full bowls of chow as needed, people be damned.

Aside from that, I think this is an EXCELLENT, well thought out plan and will do a lot to shore us up. Broadband is a key there, too. How long have we been waiting for it to be universally available. If it were up to Republicans, people would still be waiting for electricity in many places.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:50 PM

5. "$2,000 relief checks paid monthly to most Americans for the duration of the pandemic "

They will fight this tooth n nail
This is the DU member formerly known as Baclava.

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Response to Baclava (Reply #5)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:15 PM

7. yeah, i keep seeing rumors about this, but I just cannot see it being remotely true, and

if it is true that they're asking for it, no fookin way in hell it passes. Especially with president pinesol saying "no more stimulus" for now. I will bend over and kiss my own ass if that passes. But it's a good starting point for negotiations, and I'd be very very grateful for just one more stimulus check. It would keep me from losing my little business.

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Response to Baclava (Reply #5)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:34 PM

8. define 'most americans'

🤔

✌🏼

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Response to dweller (Reply #8)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:43 PM

9. Taxpayers with return info like the last time, maybe just 1 per family household

This is the DU member formerly known as Baclava.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:00 PM

6. Glad to see the Post Office aid in there.

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