HOUSE Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended delaying stimulus checks and dismissed fellow Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's critiques in a new interview.
Pelosi told 60 Minutes, in an interview that aired Sunday, that the second Covid relief package was delayed for eight months in part because "there was no respect for our heroes."
Democrats have been accused of delaying approval of the bill, which was finally signed in December, until after the 2020 presidential election.
Congressional Democrats and Republicans both blamed each other for the delays, as the nation struggled with massive spikes in virus cases.
Host Lesley Stahl said that there was obstruction from both parties before the $900billion bill finally made it through.
"No, it wasn't obstruction," Pelosi said. "…We held it up because there was no respect for our heroes, our state and local health care workers, police and fire, our first responders, our sanitation, transportation, food workers, our teachers, our teachers, our teachers.
"They would not go down that path," she added.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has criticized Pelosi and other Democratic leaders for refusing to sign off on a similar bill in the summer.
"I said back in July what the country needed was a package roughly of a trillion dollars focused on kids in school, small businesses, health care providers and direct cash payments," McConnell said.
"We started advocating that in July and August … It's noteworthy that at the end, they finally gave us what we could have agreed to back in July."
In the 60 Minutes interview, Pelosi also shot down criticism from Ocasio-Cortez that older leadership in the House is not receptive to young representatives.
"We have [brought young people into the leadership," Pelosi said. "You perhaps don't know."
Ocasio-Cortez recently spoke on The Intercept about how there is little room for succession as there is a "lack of grooming" the next generation of Democrats.
Responding directly to questions about AOC, Pelosi said: "I respect her. I think she's very effective as are other, many other members in our caucus that the press doesn't pay attention to."
"But they are there and they are building support for what comes next."
Pelosi also spoke about the recent attack on the Capitol building by President Trump's supporters, and the House's moves to impeach him with just days left in his term.
"This president is guilty of inciting insurrection. He has to pay the price for that," Pelosi said.
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