Is Nancy Pelosi a Neoliberal Shill? (Spoiler Alert: Oh Come On)

Nancy Pelosi wearing one of her many color-coordinated mask/scarf outfits.Michael Brochstein/ZUMA

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I get that there are different factions among the progressive movement and some are more progressive than others. That’s obvious. But my Twitter feed for the past couple of days has been full of true-blue progressives convinced that Nancy Pelosi is nothing more than a neoliberal shill who will cave in to Republican wishes this week and introduce only a weak, watered-down stimulus bill. Nancy Pelosi! A neoliberal shill! But then again, the same thing happened to Paul Ryan when he became Speaker of the House. It took only a few seconds for him to go from Mr. Conservative to a sellout.

Anyway, today this happened:

House Democrats unveiled a coronavirus rescue bill Tuesday that would direct more than $3 trillion for state and local governments, health systems, a second round of stimulus checks, and a range of other priorities.

Republicans rejected the legislation even before they saw it, describing it as a liberal wish list that would go nowhere in the Republican-led Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was at work on crafting liability protections for businesses instead.

The massive new Democratic bill was assembled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her top lieutenants without input from Republicans or the Trump administration. It’s less an opening bid in a bipartisan negotiation than an expression of House Democrats’ priorities that they hope will resonate with the public as the nation suffers through the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression.

So . . . is $3 trillion enough? I mean, it’s true that Pelosi isn’t demanding Medicare for All and the nationalization of all banks as part of her bill, but $3 trillion is a pretty sizeable chunk of change, even for the federal government. So what would it do?

The 1,800-page legislation, which the House is expected to vote on Friday, would devote nearly $1 trillion to state, local, territorial and tribal governments and establish a $200 billion “Heroes Fund” to extend hazard pay to essential workers. It would also send a second – and larger – round of direct payments to individual Americans, up to $6,000 per household. Other parts of the bill would increase nutrition assistance benefits by 15 percent and provide $175 billion in housing assistance, among other things. A $600 weekly increase in unemployment insurance would be extended through January, and the bill directs another $75 billion for coronavirus testing and contact tracing.

That seems like a lot. But I suppose there’s some kind of means testing somewhere that’s helpful for gaining public support but might make things 2 percent more complicated, and that means that NANCY PELOSI IS A NEOLIBERAL SHILL!

WE CAME UP SHORT.

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WE CAME UP SHORT.

We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

So we urgently need this specific ask, what you're reading right now, to start bringing in more donations than it ever has. The reality, for these next few months and next few years, is that we have to start finding ways to grow our online supporter base in a big way—and we're optimistic we can keep making real headway by being real with you about this.

Because the bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we hope you might consider pitching in before moving on to whatever it is you're about to do next. We really need to see if we'll be able to raise more with this real estate on a daily basis than we have been, so we're hoping to see a promising start.

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