Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) called out the GOP on Saturday for proposing a “laughable” coronavirus relief package that benefits the wealthiest Americans and corporations while doing nothing for the lower and middle income folks who need it most.
Under the Republican proposal, the poorest people in the United States – those who need the most help in this climate – will get just $600.
“The proposals that we’ve seen from our Senate counterparts is not anywhere near enough,” Rep. Kennedy said. “The idea that you’re going to somehow be able to make ends meet for families for a month, two months off of this is laughable.”
It just shows you are completely divorced from reality,” he added. “You need something that’s going to be far more generous.”
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) March 21, 2020
The exchange between Rep. Kennedy and Ali Velsi:
REP. KENNEDY: The proposals that we’ve seen from our Senate counterparts is not anywhere near enough. Ali, I’ve done town halls across this state over the course of the past several months. The average Social Security pay out – keep this in mind – is about $1,200. In front of those thousands of people, I’ve always asked how many of you can live in Massachusetts on $1,200 a month. Not a single hand has ever gone up. Not one once. The idea that you’re going to somehow be able to make ends meet for families for a month, two months off of this is laughable. It just shows you are completely divorced from reality. You need something that’s going to be far more generous. Third, my proposal… there’s an option to have it continue so that if our economy still struggles through this recovery, we’re able to ensure that American families are, in fact, taken care of. The economic stimulus here is important but what is far more important is making sure that American families can make ends meet. That’s the point on this.
ALI VELSHI: The stimulus is secondary here. You’re talking about $4,000 in annual direct cash payments to adults earning less than $100,000 per year. $2,000 per child for families in the same income bracket. The Senate is looking at $1,200 for adults, $600 if you don’t pay income tax, which is kind of remarkable because a whole bunch of people who don’t earn enough to pay income tax pay a lot of money in taxes, in other words consumption taxes and things like that. We are not going to fix anything that’s broken in society with $600 payments to the least among us.
REP. KENNEDY: You’re not going to come close. That still forces you to choose between going to work and paying your rent, paying your mortgage, paying your prescription medication. We’ve still got millions of people in this country that are uninsured. How are they supposed to cope with the pandemic?
GOP is using this crisis to help the wealthiest corporations
It’s clear by now that the Republican coronavirus relief plan is just another attempt by the GOP to help wealthy corporations while giving scraps to the lower and middle class.
As I wrote this week, “Americans are looking for their leaders to have their backs, not use this crisis to shower big corporations and special interests with bailouts and tax cuts while hardworking people get nothing but scraps.”
A one-time payment of $600 for low income individuals is a sick joke on the American people, not a plan to help the most vulnerable folks in the midst of this global health and economic crisis.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.