New York Senator and former presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand spoke with Cheddar on Monday about why she joined fellow Democratic lawmakers in opposing the latest $2 trillion stimulus bill.
"The package that Senator [Mitch] McConnell put together did not put workers first, patients first, hospitals first. It literally put corporations first with a slush fund for [Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin] to dole out money in the billions of dollars to whatever companies he wants," she said.
The senator said the stimulus should do more for workers by offering expanded unemployment insurance, national paid leave, national sick leave, and provisions to prevent corporations that get bailed out from paying out bonuses to executives or spending profits on stock buybacks.
She wants to avoid the kind of situation that she says followed the 2008 "Great Recession," in which companies that had been bailed out did not later invest in their employees.
"We want their investments to be worker-driven because that's how you help the economy and help us recover," Gillibrand said.
The lack of funding for hospitals, however, was Gillibrand's biggest criticism of the package.
"It's not fair. These are our first-responders. These are our frontlines in the war against this virus," she emphasized.