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Congress, White House Spar Over Stimulus Round Three

Democrats argue more urgency is needed in stimulus response

Democrats, evoking the country’s past with the financial turmoil of the Great Depression and the recovery with the New Deal, argue that much more financial aid could be needed for the long run of the pandemic.

House Virginia Democrat Don Beyer said the threat of widespread civic unrest could become very real once people begin losing unemployment benefits and other forms of aid, if left unable to work for too much longer.

“It doesn’t even have to be armed rebellion,” Beyer said, according to the Financial Times. “You just have to think Grapes of Wrath. It’s just homeless and hungry and desperate and all the bad things that come from that.”

Top Democrats have said the kind of sweeping action needed should mirror Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, which responded to the financial needs of the Great Depression with sweeping reforms across the country’s infrastructure.

And top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer warned that the Republicans’ plans could be akin to former president Herbert Hoover’s that preceded the Great Depression in the 1920s.

Some leaders are calling for a safety net for businesses that have lost more than 20 percent of their revenue. Others, such as Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, want a big boost of financial aid to individuals, in the form of $2,000 a month to every adult.

The pandemic, which forced shutdowns as the world scrambled to social distance from one another in order to avoid infection, has left millions unemployed. And despite lawmakers’ initial assumption that things would be able to bounce back, many are now less sure, seeing the possibility of longer-term economic effects.

But the Republicans may not be amenable to the Democrats’ proposals, arguing instead that future stimulus measures should focus on tax cuts and incentives for the hospitality sector and others.

And for the most part, Republicans are not currently pushing for any urgent measures beyond whats’ already been done. Larry Kudlow, White House economic advisor, has said that there were ideas being exchanged, but there likely wouldn’t be any formal action until later in the spring. And President Donald Trump said he “can’t say” there’s any rush to get something further done in terms of financial aid.

Instead, Republicans are taking a more cautious approach, saying they want to look at the effects of states reopening their economies and seeing how the money already allotted for financial aid has affected the economy.

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