Senator Cory Booker on Wednesday called for quick action on a new Democratic plan for a fresh round of coronavirus-fighting stimulus, urging lawmakers to do more on a bipartisan basis to bolster an economy in free-fall.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a $3 trillion stimulus bill, a proposal some Republicans immediately attacked as unworkable, amid calls to pause before real negotiations begin. Some observers believe an actual deal may not come until July, especially with more governors seeking aid for hard-hit state and local budgets.
The New Jersey Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate told Yahoo Finance that advocacy from the states and people who “actually run stuff” is what is needed, for the purpose of “speaking sense to people down here in Washington about getting their act together.”
He added that “the disconnect between the nature and the level of this crisis, which seems to not have fully penetrated down here in Washington, I think we’re going to get over that.”
Booker pointed to a recent action from two governors from opposing parties, Republican Larry Hogan of Maryland and Democrat Andrew Cuomo of New York, who called for $500 billion in immediate fiscal support for the states — something the new funding is expected to address.
“Each day that Congress fails to act, states are being forced to make cuts that will devastate the essential services the American people rely on” he said, adding that the crisis was bipartisan.
With jobless claims expected to show another staggering surge in unemployment, Booker said that “mass layoffs around our country” should spur action. Some Republicans — including President Donald Trump — have dismissed the idea of bailing out Democratic states.
Booker’s proposal for small businesses
The upcoming deal may also address a host of difficult issues, from businesses legal liability to vote-by-mail, to the much-criticized Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses.
Booker has pushed for a range of proposals on those fronts — including an initiative with Montana Senator Steve Daines to allow cities, counties and states to help give out PPP funds directly, instead of the money just coming from financial institutions. The senators are planning to introduce the measure on Thursday.
“I talked to Americans all across my state, who spent their lives building a small business that is now being wrecked by this crisis, they’re in financial distress” Booker told Yahoo Finance. “We can help to bridge them and sustain them, this is not the time to be thinking small.”
Booker has also long pushed for more stimulus checks to Americans. Pelosi’s bill calls for another $1,200 to qualifying Americans, similar to the initial CARES Act payment. It also has more generous provisions for up to three dependents, $1,200 for each child.
However, the New Jersey senator wants the checks to be regular, calling for “predictable” payments adjusted to the level of economic severity. “If the economy is still at ‘x’ point, it triggers another tranche of those payments.”
A proposal from three of Booker’s Senate colleagues would offer up $2,000 checks each month “throughout and for three months following the coronavirus pandemic.”
Ben Werschkul is a producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.
Coronavirus stimulus checks: 4 plans for sending Americans more money
Trump’s name on coronavirus stimulus checks could become a 2020 campaign issue
Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance
we’re leaving a lot of our localities as if we’re still being governed under the articles of confederation, a loose assortment of states all fending for themselves and that’s unacceptable.
He says these are “wild accusations about state management, no, this is a national crisis that is now putting the united states at a risk after trying to help private corporations like the airlines save themselves from having to do massive layoffs.”
so this is a lot of political wild rhetoric and, again, i get back to managing this country, and talking to the people that actually run stuff in a responsible — where the rubber hits the road.
there are ways to get out of this that are not the normal left/right sort of base we have in washington, but the ways we can move forward that can put us in a better position to compete globally and i’m very excited about that.