Really, Pelosi? $600 is ‘Significant’?
A response to the Speaker of the House’s comments regarding the lackluster Covid-19 Relief Bill.
Considering how the Government has handled everything that has happened over the course of the past nearly ten months, I cannot say I’m surprised that this second Coronavirus “relief bill” was able to pass. After the seemingly endless ways we have been treated as nothing more than collateral damage throughout the pandemic and the economic aftermath, it seems only natural that our lawmakers would deem people worthy of nothing more than a $600 means-tested relief check that won’t even cover one month’s rent in most places, while tens of millions of people are still unable to find jobs. That said, I have to admit even I was a bit surprised to see Nancy Pelosi‘s comments regarding this failure of a bill.
When addressing directly the $600 relief check for Americans, Pelosi said:
“I would have liked them to have been bigger, but they are significant…”
While over three hundred thousand people are dead and tens of millions more are left uninsured in the middle of a pandemic after losing their jobs through no fault of their own, lawmakers used this relief bill to double the budget for their healthcare clinic.
Lee Fang with The Intercept writes:
“In a flurry of last-minute legislating over coronavirus relief, congressional leaders abandoned hazard pay for essential workers and emergency funding for local governments that may be on the brink of municipal bankruptcy.
But lawmakers did find funding to dramatically increase the budget for the exclusive government-run health clinic that serves Congress.
The Office of Attending Physician, which provides medical services to lawmakers, received a special boost of $5 million, more than doubling its annual budget, which is currently around $4.27 million…
The increase in funding to the OAP, if passed, is the third budget hike Congress has provided to its own health clinic over the last year. The 2019 omnibus provided an increase in funding to the OAP, along with the CARES Act, which passed this past March.”
Meanwhile, as Congress gets an increase to the budget of their already top of the line healthcare, landlords will be asking their tenants why they bought Christmas gifts for their kids and groceries as opposed to handing them the money instead. But Pelosi has the nerve to stand on the floor of the House of Representatives, and call these minuscule checks “significant”.
As Cody Johnston observed on Twitter when addressing Pelosi’s comments, the Speaker could very easily have used her time on the floor to — at the very least — tell the American people that she is entirely aware that this amount is far from enough after eight months of no relief and just before the holidays. She could have, even for the sake of cheap political points if nothing else, told the masses that this devastatingly inadequate bill was the very best we could expect given how the Republican party had approached negotiations.
At this point, what conclusion can we come to other than our lawmakers are trying to see how little they can give us without us taking to the streets. They are sitting back as millions teeter on the edge, on the brink of losing any last shred of stability they have, and taking eight months to do what I would argue should not even be considered the bare minimum to keep people afloat.
If nothing else, I hope this will be a wake up call for loyal Democratic voters. If nothing else, I hope those who have been told for decades that we must “vote blue no matter who” will pause to consider that if any Republican had called these relief checks significant, they probably would have taken issue with that and rightfully so. If Senator Lindsey Graham had made these remarks, would they have tolerated it? Would they be under the impression that he is a lawmaker who has their best interests in mind, who understands the circumstances that Americans are facing? If we wouldn’t accept these sorts of comments from Republicans and would probably be happy to see it in an attack ad used against them, why on earth would we accept them from Nancy Pelosi?
The thing is, Pelosi said these checks were “significant” because — in her heart of hearts — that’s all she thinks the American people are worth, and that’s a difficult pill for loyal Democratic voters to swallow.