'Not Nearly Enough,' Moms Leader Says, Calling the Bill the House Passed Today 'Just the Beginning of the Pandemic Response the Country Needs'
“We are grateful that Congress has passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act – its fourth coronavirus response bill. It will provide urgently needed funds for hospitals and small businesses, and to support the COVID-19 testing we need across the nation. We thank Speaker Pelosi and all the House leaders who transformed it from a Republican scheme that did nothing for hospitals or for the small businesses that are most at-risk to the legislation it is today. We hope passage of this bill will mean the Paycheck Protection Program fulfills its promise to actual small businesses and those who work at them.
“But this is just the beginning of the pandemic response the country needs. America’s moms know this isn’t nearly enough, and are looking to Congress to immediately work on a new package, which must fill gaps in the response to date and address the devastating racial disparity in COVID-19 morbidity, with African American, Latinx, and Native American people dying at rates markedly higher than white Americans. We need health equity interventions, including collecting health outcomes data by race and ensuring that all new policies address these disparities.
“The next bill also must:
- Address the child care crisis in our country in ways that meet the needs of families as well as early childhood educators, including child care providers, through an investment of at least $50 billion. Double the child care tax credit, to further help families with young children. This is the only way we can help save our child care infrastructure for when our economy fully reopens;
- Ensure all workers can access paid sick days and paid leave. The Families First Act expanded this coverage to 87 million workers, but it excluded millions. Every worker, regardless of the size of her or his employer, needs access to paid sick days and paid medical leave. The PAID Leave Act should be included in the next pandemic relief bill. Our workforce, our businesses, and our economy will continue to suffer until lawmakers put permanent paid sick days and paid leave programs in place;
- Secure health care for all who need it, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay, and including those who are newly unemployed. This includes testing, treatment, medical exams, vaccinations, and wage replacement during isolation and/or quarantine. We must ensure that people who are already struggling with complex medical needs and people with disabilities have the care they need and do not face discrimination.
- Ensure that meeting health care needs does not lead to financial ruin. We must open a special enrollment period for Healthcare.gov and all state marketplaces; all states must expand Medicaid to low-income uninsured adults and enable Medicaid to cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured people; increase premium tax credits; ban the practice of surprise medical bills; and prohibit pandemic profiteering on treatments, medical supplies, and a vaccine by implementing anti-price-gouging measures.
- Continue to support and improve on the unemployment insurance (UI) system to give struggling families the tools to make ends meet, including direct payments, nutrition assistance, UI tied to economic indicators, a moratorium on rent/mortgage and utility payments for those in need; and at least a $30 billion investment for state UI administration and updating technology that is decades old;
- Use the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant and other criminal justice grants to incentivize decarceration in states by releasing from jails, prisons and detention centers people who do not pose a public safety risk, such as families held by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), elderly people, and those housed in pre-trial detention and who are rehabilitated;
- Reverse the shameful exclusion of millions of immigrant and mixed status families from health and economic protections and programs designed to help those in need during this pandemic. With immigrants making up one in six of the health care workers who are putting their lives on the line to care for COVID-19 patients, these cruel exclusions are especially appalling; and
- Bolster efforts to protect frontline and essential workers, the majority of whom are women and women of color. Despite the most recent investment in PPE (personal protective equipment), much more needs to be done to make sure those caring for our loved ones and providing vital services are safe. Assure the safety of health care workers caring for patients with coronavirus and other essential workers (including child care workers) by requiring OSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard that prescribes specific protections.
- Implement measures nationwide that will allow all eligible voters to cast their ballots, while prioritizing the public health of our communities. Our right to vote is the foundation of our democracy and we must ensure elections can be carried out safely.
“Lawmakers’ work to help the country through this health and economic emergency is not nearly done. America’s moms are counting on our elected leaders to continue this work by acting on every one of these priorities.”