Bernie Sanders: Senate Must Expand Pelosi’s Leftist Coronavirus Bill

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during First in the South Dinner, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The Senate must “improve” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) leftist coronavirus bill, expanding it even further, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in a statement on Thursday.

This week, Pelosi introduced a $3 trillion, 1,815-page coronavirus bill filled with a host of leftist wishlist items, from ballot harvesting and vote-by-mail to “environmental justice” grants. Although Sanders thanked the speaker for “recognizing the enormity of the crisis we’re facing” and proposing to “increase funding for state and local governments, provide hazard pay for essential works and save the Postal Service,” he does not believe the measure goes far enough.

“In my view, however, the Senate must improve this legislation if we are to adequately address the two most urgent needs facing working families right now: health care and economic security,” Sanders said, outlining his proposals:

The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that everyone in America must receive the health care they need regardless of income, including the tens of millions who have lost their employer-provided insurance. Instead of subsidizing COBRA — which would be a massive giveaway to the health insurance industry — I believe Medicare must be empowered to pay all of the health care bills of the uninsured and under-insured until this crisis is over. This approach will provide coverage to all of our people in a much more cost-effective way.

“Second, if we are to avoid another Great Depression, it is absolutely imperative that every worker in this country continues to receive a paycheck and benefits. In my view, a modest extension in the Employee Retention Tax Credit is not the same as guaranteeing the paychecks of workers and will not provide security for working people. Any legislation in the Senate to address the economic crisis must include a provision to guarantee 100 percent of the paychecks of workers up to $90,000 a year. This is what is being done successfully in many European countries and what should be done here.

Sanders also said the Senate should “substantially expand” emergency cash relief to individuals, increasing the payment from $1,200 to $2,000 per month “for every American until this crisis is over.”

“This unprecedented crisis demands an unprecedented legislative response,” Sanders concluded. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in improving and expanding the House bill before it is considered in the Senate.”

The House is expected to vote on Pelosi’s multitrillion-dollar proposal on Friday, even though Congressional Progressive Caucus cochairs Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) want to wait until next week to allow for discussions. However, they did not threaten to sink the bill if it is not postponed.

As Breitbart News detailed, Pelosi’s latest relief proposal, the Heroes Act, contains a host of leftist agenda items, including the establishment of vote-by-mail for the November election:

The plan would mandate mail-in voting during times of national emergencies, thus mailing ballots to every registered voter despite severe issues with the nation’s voter rolls. Since the 2012 election, for example, about 28.4 million mail-in ballots have gone missing.

Also included in the plan is the legalization of ballot harvesting, allowing political operatives to collect and deliver as many ballots as they want so long as they are not paid based on the number of ballots they deliver. This loophole still allows these operatives to be paid.

The plan guts voter ID requirements and witness signature requirements for mail-in voting. For instance, states would be effectively banned from requiring an ID from a registered voter requesting an absentee ballot.

The Democrat-penned measure also allots $1 million to the National Science Foundation “to study the spread of coronavirus-related ‘disinformation,'” $10 million to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and “$10 million fo the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

U.S. jobless claims have risen to 36.5 million since the start of the pandemic eight weeks ago.

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