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Common Dreams - May 12, 2020

"Jayapal, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, pushed hard for the inclusion of her Paycheck Guarantee Act but wasrebuffedby House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who haswielded near-unilateral authorityover the negotiating process as lawmakers remain in their home districts due to Covid-19 fears."

House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a sprawling 1,815-page, $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that spurns many of the key demands of progressive activists and lawmakers while including proposals that immediately provoked backlash, such as a tax cut for the wealthy and a provision that would allow corporate lobbying organizations to take part in federal small business loan program.

Formally titled the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, the bill (pdf) would provide $1 trillion in additional funding for state and local governments, extend beefed-up unemployment benefits through January of next year, authorize an additional round of one-time $1,200 stimulus payments for adults earning up to $75,000 per year, expand federal nutrition benefits, provide $25 billion for the U.S. Postal Service, establish a hazard pay fund for frontline workers, and increase spending on Covid-19 testing.

While there is much in the bill that progressives support, observers who combed through the nearly 2,000 pages of legislative text were quick to highlight sections and omissions that they deemed unacceptable.

The bill, which the House is expected to vote on as early as Friday, does not contain recurring direct cash payments, a paycheck guarantee, cancellation of rent and mortgage payments, or expansion of Medicare to cover the rapidly growing number of unemployed and uninsured Americans.

The legislation does, however, propose an expansion of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) eligibility to include corporate lobbying organizations—which aggressively pushed for the change—and a bailout for landlords.

"Democratic leadership has had plenty of input from progressive thinkers over the past couple of months. They just care more about the input from corporate lobbyists," tweetedHuffPost senior reporter Zach Carter. "There is just no excuse for this." ...
Read full report at Common Dreams