House Democrats are arguing that the time is now to pass another multitrillion-dollar coronavirus relief bill – but OneNewsNow spoke to someone who has concerns about the amount of spending and where some of it is going.
The Heroes Act – or "Pelosi proposal," as The Associated Press has described it – provides nearly $1 trillion for states, cities, and tribal governments to avert layoffs. It also includes $200 billion in "hazard pay" for essential workers, while promising hundreds if not thousands of dollars in direct cash aid to individuals or households based on income.
"Congress has already spent $2.47 trillion in coronavirus response bills – and that's enough to cover 100 percent of every private payroll in America for four and a half months," explains Phil Kerpen of American Commitment, a politically active organization headquartered in Washington, DC.
"It's just an astonishing amount of money that they've already spent – and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi says 'I want to spend another $3 trillion.'"
Of major concern to Kerpen in what he calls a "grab bag of leftwing priorities" is a six-month extension of a feature in previous bills to have unemployment pay more than work pays for nearly half of American workers.
"[That] creates a strong disincentive for people to get back to work before those benefits run out; and it puts employers in a brutal situation," Kerpen laments. "If you're locked down gets lifted and you're calling people to come back to work and they're saying, 'You know, I'm making more on unemployment now, can you match what I'm getting? I really need the money.' – what good option does an employer have in that situation?"
The program is scheduled to end in mid-summer, but the Heroes Act extends it through January 31. Those who are on in the program by that time still collect benefits through March 31, 2021.
"[Pelosi has] more money in there for mass transit after the $25 billion in the CARES Act bill," Kerpen continues. "The most efficient distributor for the virus anywhere in New York was the subway system – and we're going to subsidize it as part of our virus response?
"So, everything in there is a little bit crazy and maybe we should expect that from Pelosi by now. I just hope that unlike the previous rounds, Republicans will just say no to this instead of tinkering around the edges and then passing it."
"To those who would suggest a pause, I'll say the hunger doesn't take a pause, the rent doesn't take a pause, the hardship doesn't take a pause," Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) told reporters this week.