Sanders, Warren urge senators to stand up for working class in COVID-19 relief effort
A group of senators led by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are urging Democrats to demand that COVID-19 relief include direct payments to adults and children and reject provisions giving corporations liability shields.
In a letter to their colleagues, the senators – including Kirsten Gillibrand, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden – argue that a bipartisan proposal under negotiation “does not go anywhere near far enough.”
Only $348 billion in new money is currently allocated in that proposal, the senators point out, even though “the Trump administration and a bipartisan coalition in the House supported over $1.8 trillion in COVID-19 relief that also included another $1,200 direct payment.”
“It would be unacceptable to take a major step backwards from those previous efforts by passing legislation that only included $348 billion in new money,” the senators wrote to their Democratic colleagues.
The lawmakers further expressed their opposition to “a get-out-of-jail free card to companies that put the lives of their workers and customers at risk” currently under consideration in a bipartisan COVID-19 relief measure, and cited concerns from labor groups that “granting immunity would make the country less safe at the exact moment when the COVID-19 pandemic is entering a new, dangerous phase.”
The letter’s signatories also registered their agreement “with President-elect Biden that a $1,200 direct payment should be included in this proposal,” as over half of American workers live paycheck to paycheck and one in four are either unemployed or make less than $20,000 a year, while millions more face eviction and hunger.
Read the letter here.