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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took aim at one of President Trump's top economic advisers for suggesting that another coronavirus relief package is not necessary, arguing that "people need help" as COVID-19 cases surge.
On Wednesday, Stephen Moore said he did not expect Republicans to meet Democrats' demands for more local and state government aid — a key sticking point in stimulus negotiations — but maintained the nation's economy has already started a faster-than-expected recovery from the worst downturn in decades.
"I don't see Republicans budging on the blue state bailout," Moore said, according to The Washington Post. "The economy is doing fine — much better than anyone expected. We think the economy is strong because Trump didn't go along with a deal."
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But Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, argued the economy is "NOT doing fine," noting that unemployment remains well above pre-crisis levels and that 30 million Americans could be at risk of eviction at the end of the year as a nationwide moratorium expires.
"30 million people in this country are at risk of eviction," the progressive firebrand tweeted. "Millions of people are unemployed or underemployed from cut-back hours. The economy is not the stock market. We are NOT doing fine. People need help in red states and blue, & our job is to help everyone. This is basic."
While there is broad support among members of both parties to pass another coronavirus relief bill, they disagree sharply over the size and scope of it. With just 11 legislative days left in their calendar, it's unclear whether lawmakers will be able to strike a deal before the year ends.
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For months, Congress has struggled to reach an agreement over another round of emergency relief for families and businesses still reeling from the pandemic after they passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March. Negotiations, which came to a standstill before the Nov. 3 election, have yet to resume
Key policy differences, including funding for a virus testing plan, aid to state and local governments and tax cuts for low- and middle-income families, have confounded lawmakers since May, and they remain no less of a challenge in the wake of the 2020 election. House Democrats are pushing for at least a $2.2 trillion spending plan, while Senate Republicans want a more-targeted $500 billion bill.
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The continued deadlock comes as the number of new daily COVID-19 cases hits all-time highs and local governments impose new lockdown measures that economists have warned could derail the economy's recovery. On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the threat means that Congress should provide more stimulus to support out-of-work Americans, states and cities and small businesses.
“There hasn’t been a bigger need for it in a long, long time here,” he said.
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