“The American people need help and they need help now.”
Wednesday, December 9
Rejecting the bipartisan coronavirus relief plan currently under negotiation on Capitol Hill as “totally inadequate,” Sen. Bernie Sanders and five Democratic senators circulated a letter Tuesday calling on their fellow lawmakers to join them in demanding the inclusion of another round of direct stimulus payments and the removal of all corporate-friendly poison pills.
“Simply stated, given the horrific extent of the current crisis and the desperation that working families all over this country are experiencing, this proposal does not go anywhere near far enough,” reads the letter (pdf), which was coordinated by Sanders and backed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
“Unlike the CARES Act… this proposal only provides a $300 supplement for unemployed workers rather than $600 a week,” the lawmakers note. “Further, unlike the $1,200 direct payment for every working class individual and $500 for each child, it provides absolutely no direct payment.”
The White House is urging Senate Republicans to push for the inclusion of $600 stimulus checks in the relief bill, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
“The American people need help and they need help now,” the senators’ letter continues. “We agree with President-elect Biden that a $1,200 direct payment should be included in this proposal. We also feel strongly that we should not provide immunity to corporations who endanger the health and lives of their employees. Please join us in demanding that any new Covid relief proposal includes a $1,200 direct payment to adults and $500 to their children. Further, please work with us to make certain that there is no language in this bill to give a liability shield to corporations.”
The American people need help and they need help now. That means any COVID-19 relief deal must include:
-$1,200 direct payments to the working class
-No get-out-of-jail free card to corporations that put the lives of their workers and customers at risk https://t.co/0hNeyXB7El
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 8, 2020
Growing progressive criticism of the bipartisan stimulus proposal first unveiled last week comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) demand for a five-year liability shield for corporations—a top priority of many congressional Republicans—is threatening to completely derail ongoing relief talks.
If lawmakers don’t pass a legislative fix before the end of the year, dozens of key federal programs—including unemployment insurance, paid sick and family leave, and an eviction moratorium—will expire, leaving millions of Americans in the lurch.
Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president at consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said in a statement Tuesday that “unemployment insurance, aid for hospitals, and state and local assistance should not be held hostage to McConnell and the Senate Republicans’ quest for corporate immunity.”
“We are down to the wire as the opportunity to attach the stimulus to the end of year spending deal winds down,” Gilbert added. “Lawmakers should continue to reject any package that includes this deadly corporate giveaway and move with haste to finish the negotiations.”
Read the senators’ full letter:
Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.