On "State of the Union," Jake Tapper asked the NYC Rep her thoughts on how to really give economic relief to people suffering from loss of income..
March 23, 2020

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez appeared on "State of the Union" yesterday to discuss Congress' attempts to pass an economic relief bill in the face of the virtual standstill caused by COVID-19. The Senate's bill contained multiple provisions that appeared awfully sweet to large corporations, and gave nearly free reign to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to write the checks. Thankfully, and thanks to Democratic solidarity, the bill failed.

AOC explained with clarity and urgency what is truly needed to get the economy moving. Unsurprisingly, it's the most humane solution, as well. Write the checks to the people who have to pay their bills, and whose paychecks have disappeared as a result of this pandemic.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: [W]hat we have seen is that almost overnight our entire economy, even the felt economy from jobs, is seizing almost overnight. So, the question is not just the size but what we are doing with those funds, because if we are having a huge package, and this is something for people to look out for, when this package rolls out there is no reason for corporate bailouts to be included in an emergency relief package.

We should be focusing, is unemployment expanding, are we getting checks in people's hands, are we suspending mortgage, rent, and debt payments? 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.

But if all of this money is going to bailing out the airline industry in a way that does not help workers, if it's going to bailing out banks and other industries without helping workers, then it's not going to be enough and in fact it could be too big. So it's really about how we're using these funds.

TAPPER: So you seem to be suggesting that you support, as a lot of people do in both parties, direct payments to the American people. Some Democrats have said that the $1,200 figure that's been proposed is way too small.

How much money do you think the government should be giving the public directly and should it go to everyone or just people who need it?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, so the Financial Services Committee actually released their own plan. And I am very supportive of that plan, which has about $2,000 this month for every American with an additional $1,000 per child. But in addition to that, it stops payments.

So it stops -- it halts mortgage payments, rent payments, and all major consumer debt. And that is the key, because when you're able to stop the money going out, then that money that you do give goes a much longer way. So I'm very supportive of both those measures.

Note the two-pronged approach necessary for success. Not only do consumers need to have an influx of money to replace lost income, they need to have a moratorium on large-scale debt, like mortgage and rent, so that they can use the money to pay for things like food, gas, and other living expenses. AOC gets that. Democrats get that. Republicans in Congress? Not so much.

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