Rahm Emanuel on coronavirus response: ‘Never allow a crisis to go to waste’

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Amid negotiations over how lawmakers should respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Rahm Emanuel has reprised his famous rallying cry from his 2008 financial crash: Never let a crisis go to waste.

Speaking during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, the former Chicago mayor and chief of staff to President Barack Obama brought back his infamous quote from the 2008 financial collapse in an attempt to highlight that the government can learn from its mistakes when dealing crises.

“Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” Emanuel said Sunday. “Start planning for the future. This has to be the last pandemic that creates an economic depression. We're going to have more pandemics, but this has to be the last economic depression.”

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Emanuel’s famed comment – which has since become an often repeated catchphrase by economists and policymakers when discussing stressed financial and economic systems – quickly drew heat from Republicans who accused Democrats of trying to push forward unrelated polices into the $2 trillion stimulus bill currently being negotiated in the Senate.

“Democrats are using Rahm Emanuel's playbook of never letting a crisis go to waste,” Marc Lotter, the director of strategic communications for President Trump’s reelection campaign, tweeted. “Their demands have NOTHING TO DO with helping the American people - this is about fulfilling their liberal wish list/Green New Deal.”

Arguably the most controversial aspect of the proposal, the initial GOP plan called for $208 billion in loans to larger businesses like airlines, which would have to be repaid, and a subsequent version released over the weekend called for $500 billion.

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With the specter of the 2008 government bailouts still looming, Democrats say the deal provides too much support for big companies with little oversight and not enough for working Americans. House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also wants new collective bargaining powers for unions, higher fuel emissions standards for airlines, and expanded wind and solar tax credits.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is accusing Democrats of trying to extract concessions from airlines over their "carbon footprint," with the economy hanging in the balance.

“They ought to be embarrassed,” he said. “This is no time for this nonsense.”

Fox News’ Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.