“You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need.” — Mick Jagger/Keith Richards
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) may have as well have been humming the Rolling Stones classic when she appeared on CNN‘s State of the Union with Jake Tapper this morning to discuss the latest coronavirus relief package passed by Congress.
The Democratic leader has been facing criticism from both the progressive wing of her own party and from state governors and local elected officials over the latest relief bill that did not include financial assistance to states and cities whose tax revenue — and thus their ability to pay crucial government employees like police, firefighters, sanitation workers, and medical officials — has been decimated by the shuttering of so many businesses during the pandemic.
With her counterpart in the Senate — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)— already on record as having said that he’d prefer states to declare bankruptcy rather than provide federal funds to help them deal with the largest economic crisis of our lifetimes, a fierce battle is expected over the next steps that Congress must take in an effort to revive an American economy that may soon need a ventilator of its own to survive.
As states see their coffers grow increasingly empty as they face the unforeseen expenditures and free-falling tax revenue that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused, Speaker Pelosi offered governors and mayors some hope for assistance as she and her fellow Democrats negotiate the next relief legislation with GOP leaders in both the House and Senate.
“The governors are impatient. I’m a big fan of Governor Cuomo. My own governor, Gavin Newsom, has been spectacular, my mayor, Mayor Breed. The state and local have done their jobs magnificently,” Pelosi told Tapper this morning. “They should be impatient. Their impatience will help us get an even bigger number.”
According to The Hill:
“Pelosi said after the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed at the end of March, she and other Democrats had moved to work on CARES 2 before the “intervention” to refund the Paycheck Protection Program that ran out of money earlier this month.”
“In this deal, Democrats received an additional $75 billion for hospitals and health centers and $25 billion to increase coronavirus testing both through the state and federal governments.”
Pointing to her party’s success in clawing more money from the tight-fisted Republicans who seemingly care more about the interests of their corporate donors than those of their working-class constituents, Speaker Pelosi asked that the local leaders keep the faith that the Democrats will not leave them high and dry.
“The intervention came, we made the most of it,” the Speaker said. “As I say to members: Judge it for what it does. Don’t criticize it for what it doesn’t.”
“Just calm down. We will have state and local, and we will have it in a very significant way,” Pelosi reassured the restive governors and mayors.
Making sure that federal assistance doesn’t land all in the pockets of the already wealthy and corporations that have existing banking relationships and the financial sophistication to navigate the bureaucratic loan application processes will be crucial for future relief packages.
Making sure that Democrats and progressives keep the heat on the administration to ensure that aid goes to the people who need it the most will be a challenge, but pressure from constituents who may now find themselves with lots of idle time to call their representatives can help ensure the outcome is better than it may otherwise be and that the people who can’t get what they want at least get the bare minimum of what they need.
You can view a clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s appearance on CNN‘s State of the Union in the excerpt attached to the tweet below.
“The intervention came, we made the most of it,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says about the latest relief bill and why it doesn’t include more help for state and local governments. “Judge it for what it does. Don’t criticize it for what it doesn’t.” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/icolqTdymM
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 26, 2020
Original reporting by Justine Coleman at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.