Saikat Chakrabarti, former chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday night for holding up a coronavirus stimulus package to fight for stricter emissions standards for airlines.
Chakrabarti, who helped write the Green New Deal, implored Pelosi to focus on what really matters right now, which is getting aid to struggling Americans.
"I helped write the #GreenNewDeal and I think this is ridiculous," Chakrabarti wrote on Twitter. "The tiny little emissions standard increase doesn't even do anything meaningful to stave off climate change and gives the @GOP leverage to get rid of real help for working people. Solve the problem at hand.
"Imagine if Pelosi had passed a simple, 5-page bill that just did the obvious stuff everyone knows could hold the economy together," Chakrabarti continued. "Payroll covered, debts pauses, direct cash to people, 0% interest loans for business. Then dare the Senate to oppose it. We'd have a bill last week."
Instead of a simple five-page bill, Pelosi's version of the stimulus package was more than 1,000 pages long and included a variety of unrelated provisions attempting to advance Democratic priorities — essentially using a dire economic crisis to score political points.
For example, House Democrats sought $35 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, $300 million for the National Endowment of the Humanities, and they also wanted abortion providers like Planned Parenthood to be eligible for aid money under the small business provisions of the bill.
Other priorities for Democrats — while unemployment skyrockets and small businesses face the prospect of failing — included election security funding, student loan forgiveness, and a "host of other issues."
After midnight Wednesday, Congress reportedly reached a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package.
"At last, we have a deal. After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced from the Senate floor, according to NBC News. "In effect, this is a wartime level of investment for our nation."