Schumer says Democrats about to go "Rooseveltian" on COVID-19 relief. Progressives say we hope so

"Let's see what they propose. Not holding hope too high, though"

Published May 8, 2020 3:30PM (EDT)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (Getty/Win McNamee)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (Getty/Win McNamee)

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After Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer promised in an interview Thursday that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are soon to unveil a "Rooseveltian" coronavirus aid package, progressives responded with skeptical hope. 

"Let's see what they propose," tweeted progressive activist Stephanie Quilao. "Not holding hope too high though."

Schumer, a New York Democrat, told MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle that Democrats were working on a major package to assist the victims of the economic crisis caused by the virus, which is still spreading across the country and killing thousands. 

"We have a huge crisis here," said Schumer. "We need action here to help average folks. We've done some in the House and Senate. We need to do a lot more."

Winnie Wong, co-founder of People for Bernie and former senior advisor to Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, signaled her support for a transformative piece of legislation on par with FDR's New Deal:

By invoking Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose New Deal helped get the U.S out of the Great Depression, Schumer is setting expectations high for the package. 

"This is good," tweeted economist Stephanie Kelton. "Now dig your heels in and let's get it done."

But some progressives were wary of promises from Democratic leadership, especially in light of reporting that Pelosi is considering adding funding to bailout lobbyists into the next bill while downplaying the possibility of legislation introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) for a paycheck guarantee proposal. 

Shoveling cash at lobbying groups, wrote the American Prospect's David Dayen, was the "dumbest political maneuver" the California Democrat could use her leverage for in the current moment. 

By Eoin Higgins

Eoin Higgins is a journalist in New England. He writes the Flashpoint newsletter.

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Chuck Schumer Common Dreams Coronavirus Covid-19 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Nancy Pelosi New Deal Politics