‘Progressive’ Caucus: Next Coronavirus Relief Bill Must Include Vote by Mail

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Zoom (Screenshot)
Screenshot / Zoom

Left-wing activists and members of Congress joined together on a conference call on Monday to outline their “progressive” demands for a future round of federal relief aimed at the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The call was hosted by MoveOn.org and a host of other left-wing groups, including the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who introduced the “Medicare for All” bill in the House last year, touted her “Paycheck Guarantee Act” proposal, which would enact a “three-month federal guarantee for 100 percent of worker salaries of up to $100,000.” Jayapal said the goal was to “stop mass unemployment by guaranteeing paychecks and health benefits.”

“Republicans are intransigent, and they have been blocking Democratic effort every step of the way … but the people are with us,” she said.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), who co-chairs the Progressive Caucus with Jayapal, added that in addition to economic relief, Congress should provide national vote by mail. He said that Republican opposition to mail-in voting had backfired in Wisconsin, where Democrats did well in elections earlier this month.

Pocan accused Republicans of risking voters’ lives in Wisconsin. (The dispute between the parties was that Democrats wanted to extend a deadline for absentee ballots past Election Day; Republicans had insisted that absentee ballots be postmarked by Election Day, and won their case at the Supreme Court.)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said that it was important to “include … immigrants” in relief proposals, though she did not specify whether legal or illegal. She described poverty as “a pre-existing [health] condition,” and said that inequality and “environmental racism” were the reasons people were dying of COVID-19.

“Incrementalism is not helpful” in his moment, Ocasio-Cortez said, arguing that compromises were unacceptable.

Other participants included Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

This story is developing.

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