- She said it was "shameful" that Senate Republicans had fought for "one of the largest corporate bailouts with as few strings as possible in American history."
- "There should be shame about what was fought for in this bill and the choices that we have to make," she said.
- Elements of the massive relief bill sparked intense criticism from progressives, such as a $500 billion pot of money to be loaned to large corporations hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a scathing rebuke of Republicans Friday morning at the House floor Friday morning.
Before a vote on the massive $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, the New York congresswoman blasted Senate Republicans for pushing to bail out large companies and industries in dire financial straits as a result of the unprecedented shutdown of the American economy.
"What did the Senate Majority fight for?" Ocasio-Cortez said. "One of the largest corporate bailouts with as few strings as possible in American history. Shameful!"
She noted that the district she represents in Queens has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, as New York City struggles to treat a surge of infections that's beginning to overwhelm hospitals there. The state reported over 39,000 coronavirus cases on Thursday or 7% of the global total.
"Our community's reality is this country's future if we don't do anything," she said. "Hospital workers do not have protective equipment, we don't have the necessary ventilators."
She also expressed alarm the bill guaranteed loans for large businesses and said it didn't do enough for average people, arguing it would contribute to income inequality.
"The option that we have is to either let them suffer with nothing or to allow this greed and billions of dollars ... to contribute the largest income inequality gap in our future," she said.
"There should be shame about what was fought for in this bill and the choices that we have to make," she said.
The $2 trillion coronavirus economic relief bill is the largest federal spending package ever assembled by lawmakers. The Senate passed it in a 96-0 vote on Wednesday and the House is expected to vote on it Friday.
The legislation is slated to send $1,200 checks to millions of Americans and expand unemployment benefits. It will also provide distressed businesses and industries with hundreds of billions of dollars in zero-interest loans, tax breaks, and other emergency aid.
But provisions within it triggered intense criticism from progressive lawmakers like Ocasio-Cortez. The bill set aside $50 billion in emergency relief for major airliners now squeezed financially by a steep drop-off in the number of people traveling and by nations around the world sealing their borders to curb the spread of the virus.
That was part of a broader $500 billion fund for loans from the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to large businesses hammered by the outbreak. Critics called it another bailout for corporate America.
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- READ: Here's how the government wants to spend $2 trillion to protect the economy from coronavirus' effects