Bernie Sanders On Coronavirus Stimulus: Can You Imagine Giving Donald Trump $500 Billion With No Strings Attached? | Video | RealClearPolitics

Bernie Sanders On Coronavirus Stimulus: Can You Imagine Giving Donald Trump $500 Billion With No Strings Attached?


Sen. Sanders tells Chris Hayes, “Our job is to act in an unprecedented way, both in terms of healthcare and the economy.”

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, my feeling is that you cannot simply give $50 billion for the airline industry. And, of course, this crisis is not their making, but you can't just give them that money to do anything they want. If we're going to bail out the airline industry, if you're going to bail out tourism, if you're going to bail out hotels, et cetera, what you have to do is make sure that that money is going to protect working people.

And what you're seeing in the United Kingdom, in other countries, that they are saying to employers, if you retain your workers, even if you furlough them, even if they're working from home, they're going to continue to get the paycheck that the government is providing.

So bottom line is yes, I do understand that major industries through no fault of their own are in trouble. But our job is not to make these industries richer, not to allow them to do stock buybacks but to protect the workers in those companies.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: I wanted to get your reaction. One provision that seems a sticking point in the latest negotiations is about disclosure. This is really striking.

As the legislation is currently written -- I'm quoting "The New York Times" here -- Mr. Mnuchin, treasury secretary, would not have to disclose the recipients of these, you know, grants, loans, given out by the Treasury until six months after the loans were disbursed.

What do you think of that?

SANDERS: Well, I know you know what I think about that. I think that that is totally insane and unacceptable. Can you imagine giving the Trump administration $500 billion and, by the way, in the midst of an election to do anything they want with that money, to give the money to any company they want, any state they want, with no transparency at all. That is absolutely wrong.

Look, Chris, the truth is right now, we face at this moment in terms of the pandemic, in terms of the economic meltdown, the most serious set of crises that have been faced in this country perhaps for a hundred years. And our job right now is to think big, is to act in an unprecedented way both in terms of health care and in terms of the economy.

And it is going to cost a lot of money. But not spending that money now will make a bad situation even worse because as you know, there are some people out there talking about by the end of June, unemployment being 20, 25, 30 percent. So, right now, our focus has got to be, in my view, to make sure that all workers in this country are kept whole, they continue to get their paycheck, to make certain that in addition to that, people get a check of $2,000 a month to make certain right now that we move in an unbelievably aggressive way, to make sure that our health care providers, our doctors and our nurses are not dying on the job trying to protect us.

And that means that Trump has got to enforce in a vigorous way the Defense Production Act, to make sure that companies now are not producing t-shirts and underwear, that is not our major need at the moment. Masks, gowns, gloves are the need. And companies have got to do that. Some are already voluntarily doing that. They need to be compensated well. But they've got to transform their production capabilities to deal with the crises that we face right now.

The other thing I think, Chris, you know, is that while Congress -- and there are going to be people up all night right now working on this $2 trillion bill, people are working really hard. They understand the extent of the tragedy. We also have to take a deep breath and ask how we got to be in a country where so many people are in financial despair right now.

What I worry about is that at a time when half of our people live in paycheck-to-paycheck, those paychecks are stopping. There are people out there watching this program who are saying, I can't feed my kids tomorrow.

How did we get there? How did we have a health care system which was so unprepared, among many other things, for this epidemic?

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