Moms Leader Commends Congress for Passing Coronavirus Rescue Package, Calling It a 'Flawed Bill That Must Be Supplemented and Fixed'
“The CARES Act will provide urgently needed support to moms and working families, small businesses, and to our health care system including the skilled, heroic frontline workers who are caring for those who have been stricken by COVID-19. Despite its flaws, America’s moms commend Congress for passing it -- while at the same time urging members to immediately begin work on another rescue package that supplements and fixes it by targeting aid to all those in need.
“The country owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and all the Democratic lawmakers whose tenacious, principled work transformed the CARES Act from another unjustifiable give-away to wealthy corporations into the package it is today.
“The bill Congress passed directs payments to families, bulks up our Unemployment Insurance system to better serve the needs of millions of out-of-work Americans, provides emergency loans to small businesses and industries, and gets some desperately needed resources to hospitals, nursing homes, and community health centers. But it excludes millions of immigrant workers and families from coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment, as well as economic assistance. From farmworkers to domestic workers to health workers, regardless of immigration status we are all interdependent and connected. Combating the spread means all families should have access to testing and financial relief. Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate, but too many members of Congress and our President do. Our country will suffer as a result.
“We support the CARES Act’s robust Unemployment Insurance provisions; as well as its clarification that employees who worked for their employer for 30 days, were laid off since March 1 and have been rehired are eligible for paid leave; the fact that it allows employers and self-employed individuals to receive an advance tax credit from Treasury to be reimbursed for providing paid sick days and paid leave; its modest downpayment on election assistance to help states prepare for the 2020 election cycle; and the funds it allocates to local school systems and higher education.
“These relief packages are a good start, but more needs to be done. The paid sick days and paid leave provisions Congress has put in place must be expanded. Congress must remove the large, dangerous carve outs that leave employees at companies with more than 500 people out of paid sick day coverage. Additionally, paid family leave must be expanded to include those who need leave for their own serious medical issue or for a loved one with a serious medical issue -- and these provisions must be made permanent. The need for leave won’t end once the pandemic is over.
“The $3.5 billion in additional funds that lawmakers have provided for the Child Care Development Block Grant to care for the children of first responders and essential workers is woefully inadequate and ignores the grave, long-term threat this pandemic poses to our entire childcare system. The bill is also virtually silent on how the government will address the health needs of incarcerated individuals, including those in ICE detention centers. We encourage states to use funds from the $850 million Bryne Justice Assistance Grant to de-carcerate prisons, jails, and detention centers -- with special attention to releasing people who are elderly and/or infirm. And we are looking to lawmakers to create a special enrollment period for healthcare.gov, to better fund food and nutrition assistance, and to address the needs of people with disabilities.
“Even as we turn our attention to the unfinished business of getting through this pandemic, we will not forget the many ways that President Trump and his allies in the U.S. Senate have weakened our country, making it harder for us to weather this storm. The Trump administration has purposefully weakened our health care system and denied coverage to millions; fired and failed to replace the entire pandemic response team on the National Security Council; given a $1.9 trillion tax cut to the rich, causing the federal deficit to skyrocket to record levels; and sowed hate and division. We fervently hope President Trump and U.S. Senate leaders will rethink their positions as we recover from this pandemic and will begin supporting the programs and policies that lift all moms and families, regardless of immigration status, as well as lift our economy, to make our country healthier and bring us together.”