House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it is “absolutely essential” that illegal immigrants also get access to health benefits amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s in everyone’s interest that everyone be in the health-care loop. … it’s absolutely essential that we’re able to get benefits to everyone in our country when we’re testing, when we’re tracing, when we’re treating and the rest,” the California Democrat said during a teleconference call.
Pelosi said Democrats want to undo a provision in coronavirus legislation that prevents families with mixed immigration status from receiving stimulus payments from the Internal Revenue Service.
“We want to address the mixed-family issue,” she said during her weekly news conference Thursday, without committing to it being part of the next bill the House passes on the pandemic, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Responding to a question about supporting undocumented immigrants more broadly than the stimulus payments, the speaker said she was pleased that the Federal Reserve is looking at ways to extend lending programs to nonprofits, including those that work with illegal immigrants.
California has partnered with nonprofits to set up a $125 million fund to provide cash payments to undocumented immigrants in the state.
“We are well-served if we recognize that everybody in our country is part of our community and … helping to grow the economy. Most of what we are doing is to meet the needs of people, but it’s all stimulus, so we shouldn’t cut the stimulus off,” Pelosi said.
On Tuesday, Pelosi pressed ahead with a sweeping package even as a host of Republican leaders express hesitation about additional spending.
She promises that the Democrat-controlled House will deliver legislation to help state and local governments through the crisis, along with additional funds for direct payments to individuals, unemployment insurance and a third installment of aid to small businesses.
Pelosi is leading the way as Democrats fashion the package, which is expected to be unveiled soon even as the House stays closed while the Senate is open.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this week that it’s time to push “pause” on more aid legislation — even as he repeated a “red line” demand that any new package include liability protections for hospitals, health care providers and businesses.
With Post wires