Chairman Hakeem Jeffries says Trump is MIA

Jeffries, the House Democratic Caucus Chairman, mentioned the millions of Americans at risk of losing unemployment benefits

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House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries spoke with CNN correspondent Dana Bash for “Inside Politics” on Sunday to discuss the current state of the country.

U.S. House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) speaks during a news conference November 17, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. House Democrats will pick their leadership on Wednesday and Thursday this week by a virtual election. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Jeffries mentioned the millions of Americans at risk of losing their unemployment benefits and spoke about the need for a COVID-19 relief package. When Bash asked what Americans should “realistically expected at a bare minimum” from the possible lack of further support, Jeffries suggested an extension.

“That’s the deadline that’s getting ready to expire, and we need to renew the enhanced $600 per week emergency unemployment insurance benefit. That is the benefit that expired because Republicans allowed it to on August 1,” Jeffries said to Bash. 

“We need to renew that, make it retroactive back to August 1 and then, of course, extend out the eligibility into next year because this is a once-in-a-century pandemic. It requires a once-in-a-century response,” he continued.

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He further noted that President Donald Trump’s notable absence as the coronavirus pandemic worsens, suggesting that he has “quit” on Americans.

“The other challenge that we face, quite honestly, is that President Trump is missing in action. He seems to have quit on the American people. It’s an extraordinary thing to witness,” Jeffries said. “Hopefully when he sees House Democrats and Senate Republicans negotiating as we are currently on a new spending agreement so we can avoid a government shutdown.”

He commented that he’s “very confident” that an agreement will be reached that will “lay the foundation for then transitioning to completing the negotiations on the COVID-19 relief package.”

According to Forbes, Trump reportedly skipped the G20’s virtual leadership summit meeting regarding the coronavirus pandemic to play golf in Virginia. This now marks Trump’s 298th golf trip during his presidency.

The correspondent then mentioned Trump Administration Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s comments on the Feds returning unused funds from emergency lending programs in order for Congress to then spend the $455 billion elsewhere, as reported by Bloomberg.

Jeffries called the idea “irresponsible” and suggests repurposing the money to assist American small businesses instead.

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“We should repurpose the funds. I think that the wealthy and the well off, the megacorporations, they’re doing just fine. But small and medium sized businesses, mom-and-pop shops, family-owned businesses, black-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses are struggling,” he said.

He added that the need for further relief is evident: “I certainly believe that repurposing the unspent money is the right thing to do for American businesses, particularly small businesses who have been hit incredibly hard and are the heart and soul of the economy.”

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