Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) said Sunday that the upcoming third coronavirus stimulus bill, which could cost more than $2 trillion, is potentially inadequate to provide necessary economic relief.
On CNN’s State of the Union, Ocasio-Cortez argued that there is almost no conceivable price too high for an economic stimulus package.
“I don’t think a lot of people out there really understand the systemic shock that is being experienced in the economy right now,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Folks are comparing this to 2008. This is very, very different than even 2008 because what we have seen is that almost overnight, our entire economy, even the felt economy from jobs, is ceasing almost overnight.”
Ocasio-Cortez was responding to a question posed by CNN anchor Jake Tapper regarding the cost of the proposed $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill, which is now hotly contested in negotiations in Congress.
The New York Democrat said she would oppose any corporate bailouts that might be included in the bill, turning discussions of cost to questions of who deserves relief.
“The question is not just the size but what we are doing with those funds because if we are having a huge package … there is no reason for corporate bailouts to be included in an emergency relief package,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Instead, the congresswoman advocated for dramatically expanding current welfare programs and halting creditors from collecting on debts.
“We should be focusing [on]: Is unemployment expanding? Are we getting checks in people’s hands? Are we suspending mortgage, rent, and debt payments?” Ocasio-Cortez said. “If we’re able to do that, if we’re able to get money into households and stop the bleeding with pauses on money going out of households, then we can get working families through this thing.”
Ocasio-Cortez opposed bailing out the airline industry and banks. The only foreseeable circumstance, she said, in which a stimulus bill would be “too big,” is if it bailed out corporations.
“So it’s really about how we’re using these funds,” she added.
Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described “democratic socialist,” has been a frequent critic of capitalism during her time in Congress. In January, she said that billionaire business owners don’t generate their own fortunes but “take” their wealth.
The current economic stimulus package has reached a stalemate, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) claiming the House of Representatives will draft its own version of the stimulus in hopes it will pass the Senate.