Over the past several months, President Donald Trump and other prominent Republicans have accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of holding up progress on a second COVID-19 relief bill for political reasons.
As 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, recently revealed, he apparently agrees with that assessment of the party leader.
“Democrats walked away”
During an interview on Monday, Sanders faulted Democratic Party leadership for turning down offers of as much as $1.8 trillion in spending because they refused to budge on a $2.2 trillion package.
As the New York Post reported, however, Pelosi announced earlier this month that she would accept a much smaller $908 billion agreement after repeatedly rejecting larger offers from White House representatives.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper noted that “Democrats walked away” from the earlier deals, prompting an enthusiastic response from his guest.
“That’s right!” Sanders declared, going on to affirm that he believed it was “a mistake” for the House speaker to take such a hard-line approach to negotiations.
“That’s what I’m saying,” he continued. “That’s exactly what I’m saying. Here was a proposal much, much larger. Democrats said, ‘No, that’s not good enough.'”
“Really isn’t a compromise”
When it came to the deal that Pelosi is now apparently eager to accept, Sanders made it clear that he is not impressed.
“What we need is a compromise,” he insisted. “I know I can’t get everything that I want, but this bill really isn’t a compromise.”
Instead, Sanders complained that the proposal “gives Republicans almost everything that they wanted,” chiding Democrats for not pushing harder for specific inclusions.
“We are, right now, in the worst economic shape since the Great Depression, and this proposal does not include that $1,200 direct payment per individual and $500 for kids that we desperately need in order to put working families back on their feet,” he said.
He has some bipartisan support on that issue, as Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said he recently expressed to the president: “I said, ‘I think it’s vital that any relief include direct payments, and I’m not gonna vote for it if it doesn’t.’ And I also urged him to veto any bill that did not have direct payments in it.”