Dem Rep. Lee Calls for $2,000-a-Month Federal Cash Assistance Benefit ‘Until the End of the Pandemic’

Saturday on MSNBC’s “Cross Connection,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) insisted that the one-time $600 payment for COVID-19 relief was not enough and that congressional Republicans should green-light a $2,000-a-month cash payment to individuals through the end of the pandemic.

“[W]e passed the HEROES Bill eight months ago that had $1,200 cash assistance in it,” she said. “Of course, Donald Trump and the Republicans would not support that. Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and many members had been negotiating, myself included, some of the provisions in this bill so we could help people with their livelihoods and their lives. And so, I wanted quite frankly $2,000 a month — $2,000 a month until the end of the pandemic. Now Donald Trump comes up with $2,000. Well, great — we support that. Do you think Republicans supported that? No.  And so we’re going to keep working because, you know, people can’t afford to live like on the edge. You cited 5 million more people living in poverty, now 8 million more. A couple of months ago, the reports came out that 8 million more people had lived and fallen below the poverty line. It’s unacceptable, and just know we’re doing everything we can do to get the Republicans to come around and to do the right thing.”

Lee accused Republican lawmakers of putting corporations and wealthy donors ahead of those individuals to justify their opposition to such payments.

“It’s a nonstarter for many reasons,” Lee added. “One is in a lot of respects, their values are such that they really don’t care about people. Some didn’t even want this $600, and we call these ‘survival payments.’ And you’re right, I mean, this $600, what is going to happen with people after they pay back rent or pay their check cashing — their check fees? What is going to happen to people in terms of their rent? We have a moratorium in the bill. Eight months ago, we put a moratorium on evictions. We put rental assistance in the legislation. We put more funding for tracing, contact tracing, testing, and vaccines targeted for communities of color. We’ve done a heck of a lot, and I know people don’t understand why there is such a divide in Congress, but I tell you, it has to do with their values. It has to do with them putting corporations, very wealthy donors first, and just leaving people out there because they really don’t care.”

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