Washington, D.C. – Today, the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), sent a letter to Democratic leadership in the House and Senate outlining key priorities for the next coronavirus deal.
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer and Senate Democratic Leader Schumer:
Thank you for your leadership as you continue to work to address the ongoing economic and public health crises our nation faces as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. As you negotiate a bipartisan package, we write to ask that you extend the key provisions in the CARES Act that have served as a critical lifeline to millions of individuals and families across the country, and work to ensure the inclusion of other Democratic priorities in the Heroes Act to adequately address the scale of this crisis.
The proposal released by Senate Republicans, including their decision to slash supplemental unemployment insurance and failure to extend the eviction moratorium, would result in $1600 less in critical relief every month for families already struggling to put food on the table, pay bills and make ends meet. Their proposal shields corporations, while short-changing essential workers and undermining our ability to conduct testing and contact tracing at the scale that is necessary to get the pandemic under control. We must reject their dangerous proposal and negotiate a bill that meets the demands of the American people by:
- Extending the $600 per week supplemental unemployment insurance (UI) benefit. With a historic 30 million people receiving UI, any significant scale-back of this benefit will result in a sharp decline in the standard of living for millions of Americans, increase poverty, and exacerbate racial inequality.
- Extending the nationwide moratorium on eviction and foreclosures for all renters and homeowners, and the moratorium on water and utility shutoffs, consistent with the Heroes Act. Congress should also include $100 billion in rental assistance to keep people in their homes.
- Protecting essential workers with an Emergency Temporary OSHA Standard, hazard pay and strong whistleblower protections, and access to affordable child care consistent with the Heroes Act.
- Ensuring equitable access to any COVID-19 related care or vaccine, including through Medicaid and Medicare and full reimbursement for the uninsured.
- Extending access to the benefits included in any coronavirus response legislation to immigrants, including ITIN holders.
- Ensuring robust support for small businesses and workers through direct payments to businesses for payroll, benefits and operating costs, and improving the federal workshare program by expanding it to all states and eliminating the minimum employee limit.
- Maintaining the $915 billion in funding for the state, local, tribal and territorial governments and parity for the District of Columbia, consistent with the Heroes Act.
- Ensuring election security by guaranteeing vote-by-mail for the November 2020 elections, all future federal elections and maintaining access for safe in-person voting for those without access to mail voting, consistent with the Heroes Act.
- Rejecting price gouging and any expanded corporate bailouts and protections, including liability shields which place the health of corporations over the health of the American people.
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed and exacerbated long-standing inequalities in our country, and the American people demand – and deserve – that Democrats pass a negotiated bill that meets their dire needs.