Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) released the following statement urging immediate action to extend and expand health and financial protections for millions of Americans impacted by the coronavirus pandemic:
“Millions of Americans are on the brink of complete economic devastation as COVID-19 cases and joblessness claims continue to rise, and yet the Republican response is to dramatically hollow out unemployment and housing protections in the midst of a pandemic. For more than 30 million unemployed Americans, the Republican proposal would amount to $400 less in critical relief every week as many families are already stretching resources to put food on the table, pay the bills, and make ends meet. This is nothing less than a policy of mass evictions, mass homelessness, mass poverty, and mass hunger that would unleash widespread suffering unlike anything experienced in America since the Great Depression. All the while, big corporations would be shielded from any responsibility or liability for endangering the wellbeing of the public.
“There’s no explanation for the Republican proposal except cruelty and greed. Democrats – and the American people – should demand that Congress extend the $600 per week of expanded unemployment, along with an extension of housing protections, another moratorium on utility shutoffs, and continued financial aid to families that provides certainty to families and workers as the virus continues its rampage. Additionally, Congress should ensure more businesses — particularly small and minority-owned businesses who have yet to get the necessary relief to stay afloat — receive assistance directly from the government instead of through banks, easing the process of aid so they aren’t forced to close their doors permanently. We should also ensure that this latest bill does not become a free-for-all for corporations looking for bailouts, handouts, and liability shields, and prevent profiteering off the virus and people’s pain. Instead of shielding corporations, we should be ensuring that all essential workers are protected and states have access to increased PPE and testing supplies. The American people can’t afford half-measures – we must do better for the millions of families who are counting on us.”