May 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi defends $3 trillion relief bill: "The American people are worth it"

Nancy pelosi.

Photo: Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended the Democrats' $3 trillion coronavirus relief proposal on Wednesday, telling AP in an interview that the pandemic is the "biggest disaster that our country has ever faced.”

The big picture: Pelosi said Congress needs to address the crisis "in a big way." She conceded the current proposal is a starting point for potential negotiations with President Trump and Republicans, who weren't involved in crafting the bill and have already soundly rejected it.

If passed, the bill would be the largest spending package in U.S. history. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday balked at the idea of adding to the national debt after Congress passed the $2 trillion CARES Act in March, saying he is "assessing the effectiveness of that before deciding to go forward."

  • "Well, it's interesting to see what they're saying, becoming now, renewing their fiscal hawk positions that they can barely remember. I have confidence in going big with what we do," Pelosi told MSNBC Monday.
  • "When I saw them give a $2 trillion addition to the national debt in order to give 83 percent of the benefits to the top one percent, that was so irresponsible in terms of it did nothing for the economy except heap mountains of debt on our children," she added, referring to the 2017 Republican tax cut.

Between the lines: Pelosi received some backup for her spending wishes from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, who warned on Wednesday of long-term economic damage without additional stimulus. Powell has previously urged Pelosi to "think big" on stimulus while interest rates are near zero.

What she's saying: “The president calls it a war — we’re all warriors, that people are dying in the war. No these are family, and people are dying in the family.”

  • “The American people are worth it,” Pelosi added.
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