‘Squad’ Demands Timeline on Phase 4 Coronavirus Relief that ‘Defends Our Elections’

In this Wednesday, March 11, 2020, file photo, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and other House Democrats arrive to meet with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democratic lawmakers are calling out an apparent lack of racial data that they say is needed to monitor …
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

The four far-left members of the “Squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) — are urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to provide a timeline on a Democrat-penned relief package that provides “universal” cash assistance and “defends our elections” via mail-in voting.

The House overwhelmingly passed a $484 billion coronavirus aid bill on Thursday, which replenished the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with an additional $310 billion. The CARES Act originally provided the program with $350 billion, but those funds ran dry last week, requiring further action from Congress:

The deal also includes $60 billion in economic disaster assistance loans and grants, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing. Out of the testing funds, $11 billion is set aside for states while the federal government will also get some of the funding.

Progressive lawmakers contend that it is not enough and are demanding a timeline on a Democrat-penned relief measure.

Omar said Congress should not go home until they have a “clear timeline” on a relief package that:

– Provides monthly and universal cash assistance
– Cancels Rent and Mortgages
– Fully funds COVID-19 care
– Defends our elections

“Congress should not adjourn until we have a timeline for a bold & comprehensive Democrat led bill that meets the scale of the crisis,” Pressley agreed:

“It is a joke when Republicans say that they have urgency around this bill. The only folks that they have urgency around are folks like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Shake Shack. Those are the people getting assistance in this bill,” Ocasio-Cortez said on the House floor on Thursday.

“You are not trying fix this bill for mom & pops. We have to fight to fund hospitals. Fighting to fund testing…It is unconscionable,” she added, demanding a timeline for the next bill in another tweet:

Democrats have been angling for the next stimulus bill to provide cash assistance to non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, and are fighting for major changes to the way Americans vote by pushing universal vote-by-mail.

Pelosi told MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday that we “have to have an important chunk of money in this next bill that will enable us to protect the integrity of our elections, as well as enable the American people to vote by mail, especially at this time of a health danger in going to the polls.”

“This is the lifeblood of our democracy, the vote. So here we are trying to protect the lives of American people, the livelihoods of the American people, and also the life of our democracy. That is what we are going to do in the next bill as well,” she said.

However, to the dismay of the progressive lawmakers, Pelosi has yet to provide a specific timeline, although she has promised that House Democrats will craft their own measure in the next round —  a measure which will include universal vote-by-mail.

According to HuffPost:

But Pelosi’s office declined to provide a concrete timeline for such a vote, saying that it depends both on how long it takes to craft the legislation and what the U.S. Capitol’s physician advises in terms of public health precautions.

“We need a timeline. We can’t just keep kicking the can down the road,” Sarah Groh, Pressley’s chief of staff, told HuffPost.

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