Fighting Back: “People need the facts. They need a plan. And they need it now.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Patty Murray of Washington calling out the Trump “administration” for the delays in getting a plan in place to address the coronavirus crisis.

(“Democrats understand the urgency of this moment in no uncertain terms—and we are going to work to do everything we can, as fast as we can, to protect you, your loved ones, and all our communities,” said Senator Murray (D-WA). “We are in this together, and we will get through it together.”)

I have been incredibly frustrated and concerned by the Trump Administration’s missteps and slow response to this crisis so far.

“People need the facts. They need a plan. They need transparency. And they need it now.

“So I’m working to make sure we not only hold the Trump Administration accountable for the delays and missed opportunities so far, but that we also do everything in our power to immediately take the steps we need to do to start to finally get ahead of this crisis.[…]

Democrats understand the urgency of this moment in no uncertain terms—and we are going to work to do everything we can, as fast as we can, to protect you, your loved ones, and all our communities.

“We are in this together, and we will get through it together.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Senator Murray Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hi, I’m Senator Patty Murray from Washington state. Right now I know families in my state and across the country are alarmed by the continued spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Like so many of the families I’m hearing from, I have been incredibly frustrated and concerned by the Trump Administration’s missteps and slow response to this crisis so far.

“People need the facts. They need a plan. They need transparency. And they need it now.

“So I’m working to make sure we not only hold the Trump Administration accountable for the delays and missed opportunities so far, but that we also do everything in our power to immediately take the steps we need to do to start to finally get ahead of this crisis.

I know so many people are asking what they should be doing to help keep their family and community safe.

“The most important thing we can do right now is make sure each and every one of us is taking steps to slow the spread of this virus so we can protect the people who are most vulnerable and prevent a spike in cases from overwhelming our health care workers on the frontlines.

“Public health experts have made clear this is something everyone can, and must, play a role in.

“There are several simple, straightforward steps you can take starting right now to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases: avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and avoid close contact with people who are sick; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and throw that tissue in the trash; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; and if you are sick—stay home.

“We should also all be taking steps to improve social distancing to protect ourselves and others in our communities.

“Now these steps may seem small—but make no mistake, they are a critical part of this fight.

“The other critical part of this effort is ensuring we’ve got a coordinated, comprehensive government response that puts the needs of families, workers, and communities on the frontline of this crisis first.

“Here are the next steps Democrats believe are necessary.

“First, we need to make sure that no matter how you are insured, or whether you are insured—you can get testing at absolutely no cost.

“We need to ensure all employees have access to fourteen paid sick days immediately, so they can afford to follow the CDC’s advice and stay home if they are sick.

“Our health care workers need protective gear to keep them safe as they care for those who are sick.

“And we need to make sure our schools have plans for everyone who will be impacted by the difficult decisions they may have to make. Children who rely on school for nutritious meals, college students who get their housing, medical care, and meals on campus will need our support.

”We also have to support our communities in addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness and those experiencing food insecurity.

“And, as coronavirus continues to impact our small businesses, we will absolutely need to put policies in place that help local economies recover.

“There is much more we need to do as well—but steps like these will go a long way toward saving lives and reducing the impact of coronavirus—and we need to take them as quickly as possible. That is exactly what we’re going to keep pushing to get done.

“Let me also say that I know this is a frightening time, and there are lots of unknowns.

“But here are two things you can count on: First, you can make a huge difference for yourself and others by following public health experts’ guidance on ways to slow the spread of this virus. Small steps truly do save lives in this moment.

“And secondly, Democrats understand the urgency of this moment in no uncertain terms—and we are going to work to do everything we can, as fast as we can, to protect you, your loved ones, and all our communities.

“We are in this together, and we will get through it together.

“Thank you.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning.

We have the Prime Minister of Ireland here for our traditional lunch in the Capitol, so it’s a pretty exciting time.

In the meantime, the day job always goes on and, today, we’re having continuing conversations with the Administration on legislation that puts families first.

We’re very proud of the work that the Congress did last week with an $8.3 billion legislation to meet the needs of social and health services organizations, state and local government, testing, all the rest of that. Testing, testing, testing: so very important so we can have an idea of the size of the challenge but also that we first and foremost can meet the needs of those who test positive.

Today, we’ll bring to the Floor our Families First legislation, which is what we talked about as soon as we finish the appropriations bill. Listening to health care professionals, governors, mayors, et cetera – put the Families First legislation together.

It has a free coronavirus testing, by and large for almost everyone in the country. We’re having some discussion about that with the Administration of maybe some people want to pay. But, by and large, free [coronavirus] testing so that everyone will be testing and no one will say, ‘I can’t afford it, so I can’t,’ and that’s not a good idea when it comes to public health.

Paid emergency leave with fourteen paid sick days. Very essential as we deal with this challenge, that public health challenge that we have. And hands down employment insurance, the first step that will extend protections to furloughed workers.

Strengthened food security initiatives. Very important. Many kids just get their food security in being in school. If schools are closed, we have to make sure that the food gets to the children. This food is already paid for and allocated, appropriated for, it’s just a question of getting the food to the children and that has some cost to it.

We also have to get the school lunch program, but in terms of SNAP and food assistance for seniors, people with disabilities, helping the non-profits who are on the forefront of helping people have access to food at this difficult time.

And then clear protections for our frontline workers who are working in infectious environments, or possible infectious environments, so that they – the OSHA regulations are a protection for them.

And then, increased funding for Medicaid. The FMAP, that’s the initiative that gives money to the states for Medicaid that is used, hopefully through the counties and the rest which deal with many of these health issues, as we go forward.

So it’s about putting families first. We did the big, the major investment last week. We were very proud of that: strong bipartisan, already signed into law.

Families First – and there will be other initiatives that we want to work with the Administration on that may be necessary as we go forward. Some that need more discussion, more impact in terms of what is the collateral benefit or collateral damage to stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

Now let me just get back to testing, testing, testing. So very important to take inventory, to understand the epidemiological – the spread of the virus. And also to meet the needs of the people affected.

I am very pleased, also this week, that we were able to pass a bipartisan FISA bill in the House. That’s a hard thing to do. I know that from my intelligence experience. And that we were able to pass Representative Slotkin’s War Powers Resolution, Rep. Lee’s legislation to repeal the AUMF – it’s the predicate for how we go forward – and Rep. Khanna’s legislation to prohibit funding for military action.

So, as we go forward, I want to thank the Members for the bipartisan legislation that was successful this week on the Floor.

In case you were going to ask: no, I do not think Bernie Sanders should get out of the race. I think that – I’m a grassroots person, a party grassroots – you know, Chair of the California Democratic Party. I know the enthusiasm of supporters for candidates. And they want to see it play out. For the ideas and causes that the candidate advances. For the opportunity for people to show their support.

I congratulate both of the candidates as they go into the debate on Sunday. I wish them both well and I’m very pleased that we’re getting a chance now, in a narrower field, to be able to come close to having a standard-bearer for the party.

But, either one of them, whoever is the one who emerges, the other is a standard-bearer for a point of view in our party that is very important.

With that, I am pleased to take any questions.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Speaker Pelosi addressed the country yesterday afternoon.

Pelosi Remarks on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Good afternoon. Over the last several weeks, our nation has been faced with a grave and accelerating challenge, one that tests our compassion, ingenuity and resolve: the coronavirus crisis.

Sadly and prayerfully, we have learned of the tragic deaths of at least 41 Americans from this public health emergency so far.

The American people expect and deserve a coordinated, science-based and whole-of-government response to keep them and their loved ones safe: a response that puts families first to stimulate the economy.

To put families first, last week, the House passed a strong, bipartisan $8.3 billion emergency funding package of entirely new funds. We made a well-funded, evidence-based investment in public health; in development treatments and the vaccine available to all; in prevention preparedness and response measures and helping state, local, tribal and territorial hospitals and health systems; and in supporting impacted small businesses with SBA loans and helping families by expending telemedicine services no matter where they live.

Democrat’s swift action to pass this emergency funding was essential to our nation’s long overdue response.

Next, Senate Democratic Leader Schumer and I, last weekend, called for further action to put families first.

Today, we are passing a bill that does just that: the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which is focused directly on providing support for America’s families, who must be our first priority.

The three most important parts of this bill are testing, testing, testing. This legislation facilitates free coronavirus testing for everyone, including the uninsured.

We can only defeat this outbreak if we have an accurate determination of its scale and scope, so that we can pursue the precise, science-based response that is necessary.

To put families first, our legislation secures paid leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and family and medical leave for those affected by the virus.

And for those who lose their jobs, we are strengthening Unemployment Insurance, a critical step to protect workers’ economic security.

Putting families first, our legislation protects our children and, particularly, the tens of millions of little children who rely on the free or reduced price lunch they receive at school for their food security.

As schools are being closed, these children will be deprived of their meals. Our bill takes aggressive action to strengthen food security initiatives, including student meals as well as SNAP, seniors’ meals and food banks.

As we develop our next steps, we will continue to listen to and benefit from the expertise of scientists, health care professionals, public health officials and community leaders, so that we can craft the most effective, evidence-based response.

Our nation, our great nation has faced crises before. And every time, thanks to the courage and optimism, patriotism and perseverance of the American people, we have prevailed. Now, working together, we will once again prevail and we’ll come out stronger than before.

God bless you and God bless America.

Thank you.

~

Democratic Party presidential nominee, Joe Biden spoke in Delaware about the COVID-19 crisis.

The Biden Plan to Combat Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Prepare for Future Global Health Threats

The American people deserve an urgent, robust, and professional response to the growing public health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. That is why Joe Biden is outlining a plan to mount:

A decisive public health response that ensures the wide availability of free testing; the elimination of all cost barriers to preventive care and treatment for COVID-19; the development of a vaccine; and the full deployment and operation of necessary supplies, personnel, and facilities.
A decisive economic response that starts with emergency paid leave for all those affected by the outbreak and gives all necessary help to workers, families, and small businesses that are hit hard by this crisis. Make no mistake: this will require an immediate set of ambitious and progressive economic measures, and further decisive action to address the larger macro-economic shock from this outbreak.

Biden believes we must spend whatever it takes, without delay, to meet public health needs and deal with the mounting economic consequences. The federal government must act swiftly and aggressively to help protect and support our families, small businesses, first responders and caregivers essential to help us face this challenge, those who are most vulnerable to health and economic impacts, and our broader communities – not to blame others or bail out corporations.

Public health emergencies require disciplined, trustworthy leadership grounded in science. In a moment of crisis, leadership requires listening to experts and communicating credible information to the American public. We must move boldly, smartly, and swiftly. Biden knows how to mount an effective crisis response and elevate the voices of scientists, public health experts, and first responders. He helped lead the Obama-Biden Administration’s effective response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Biden also helped lead the response to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and ran point on implementation of the Recovery Act. He knows how to get relief out the door to families, as well as resources to state and local officials to deal with the challenges they are facing.

And, even as we respond to this crisis, we must prepare for the next one. As President, Biden will establish and manage a permanent, professional, sufficiently resourced public health and first responder system that protects the American people by scaling up biomedical research, deploying rapid testing capacity, ensuring robust nationwide disease surveillance, sustaining a first class public health and first responder workforce, establishing a flexible emergency budgeting authority, and mobilizing the world to ensure greater sustained preparedness for future pandemics.

Congress has taken a step forward by passing an initial bipartisan emergency plan to combat COVID-19. The Trump Administration must now heed the calls of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to put the health and safety of the American people first. Much more needs to be done, now, to bring our country together, respond to this emergency, and set the groundwork for bold, long-term reforms, including ensuring quality, affordable health care and a comprehensive paid leave program for every American.

More at the link.

~

  10 comments for “Fighting Back: “People need the facts. They need a plan. And they need it now.”

  1. JanF
    March 14, 2020 at 6:43 am

    Speaker Pelosi on the bill passed overnight in the House:

    Dear Democratic Colleague,

    By now, you know from the President*’s tweet that he has joined in support of our bipartisan legislation to put Families First and address the coronavirus crisis.

    I am writing to thank you for your patience! Because it was essential for us to have legislation pass the House by this weekend, it required intense and constant negotiations for what could have been an elusive agreement.

    Last Sunday, Leader Chuck Schumer and I put forth our Families First agenda. I am very proud to write that the provisions we put forth with your input, including paid sick leave, paid family and medical leave, enhanced Unemployment Insurance, food security initiatives and free and widespread testing, are all included in this agreement.

    While we could have passed this bill on our own, I believe it was important for us to assure the American people that we can work together to manage this crisis. Our agenda which puts Families First with the $8.3 billion bipartisan emergency coronavirus response bill last week and tonight’s legislation presents a strong stimulus to our economy to protect the health and financial security of America’s working families as we fight the coronavirus crisis.

    As we proceed with further legislation, we will do so happily under a different timetable and continue to welcome any suggestions you have.

    Thank you again for your patience, your ideas and your commitment to putting Families First.

    • JanF
      March 14, 2020 at 6:46 am

      This is what was agreed to earlier in the day: Agreement with Administration on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

      We are proud to have reached an agreement with the Administration to resolve outstanding challenges, and now will soon pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. We take great pride in the leadership of Chairs Lowey, Neal, Pallone, Scott, Peterson and McGovern, all the Committee and Subcommittee Chairs of Jurisdiction and the Rules Committee to craft this landmark legislation to protect families, which contains the priorities and provisions that Leader Schumer and I called for last weekend. We are especially grateful to the staffs of the Committees.

      This legislation is about testing, testing, testing. To stop the spread of the virus, we have secured free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured. We cannot fight coronavirus effectively unless everyone in our country who needs to be tested can get their test free of charge.

      This legislation takes additional smart, strategic and science-based measures to put Families First:

      – For families’ economic security: we secured paid emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. We have also secured enhanced Unemployment Insurance, a step that will extend protections to furloughed workers.
      – For families’ food security: we strengthened nutrition security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors’ nutrition and food banks. 22 million children rely on free or reduced-price school meals for their food security; we must ensure that they have food to eat.
      – For families’ health security: we increased federal funds for Medicaid to support our local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems, so that they have the resources necessary to combat this crisis.

      As the Senate works to pass this bill, the House will begin work on a third emergency response package to protect the health, economic security and well-being of the American people. We will do so in continued consultation with scientists, researchers, health care professionals, public health officials and community leaders, so that we can craft the most effective, evidence-based response.

  2. JanF
    March 14, 2020 at 6:56 am

    Reuters report of what is in the bill and what is not:

    The bill would provide two weeks of paid sick and family leave for those affected by the virus. Businesses would get a tax credit to help cover the expense.

    Democrats had initially sought to create a permanent paid sick-leave benefit for the third of U.S. workers who currently lose wages when they stay home due to illness, but Republicans said that was a dealbreaker.

    Workers would also be able to take up to three months of unpaid leave if they are quarantined or need to take care of sick family members.

    It would expand safety-net programs that help people weather economic downturns, including home-bound seniors and low-income schoolchildren who risk losing access to free breakfast and lunch if their schools are shuttered.

    It would bolster unemployment aid, and the “food stamps” program that helps 34 million low-income people buy groceries.

    Significantly, it would suspend a new Trump administration restriction, due to kick in on April 1, that would cut off food-stamp benefits for 700,000 childless adults who are not working.

    Federal support for Medicaid would also be increased, giving states a cushion to fund the low-income health insurance program that Trump has repeatedly tried to scale back.

    More details here.

  3. bfitzinAR
    March 14, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Thanks, Jan. Our team is showing what should be done and what can be done. MSM isn’t gonna cover it that way and that’s just a given. They’ve been a RW propaganda machine since Reagan. We shall see what we shall see about whether or not our team is given the chance to actually do what needs to be done to save millions of lives – and incidentally our economy.

  4. March 14, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Thanks for this Fighting Back post, Jan. Thank Goddess for Nancy Pelosi!

    Our candidate is already being presidential.

    We must keep the faith.

  5. princesspat
    March 14, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks Jan, reading this gives me some much needed encouragement. May our strong Dem leaders stay healthy and safe.

  6. JanF
    March 21, 2020 at 6:24 am

    The Weekly Democratic Party Address for Saturday, March 21st was delivered by Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon.

    (Chairman Peter DeFazio of Oregon delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, the Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee discussed the importance of transportation in securing our health and financial well-being, as well as House Democrats’ commitment to workers and families in our response to coronavirus.)

    “There’s no question we are in an unprecedented moment and fighting an unprecedented foe – COVID-19. People are worried about their health and that of their loved ones; the stability of their personal finances and the future of our economy. It’s important to remember we are all in this together. Right now, Americans are working at every level, around the clock, to make sure we get through this crisis and that we take care of each other. […]

    “Democrats won’t support relief for corporations unless it comes with strict guardrails that ensure American workers get taken care of first. That means any relief goes first to paying workers and protecting their benefits, like health insurance and retirement accounts – not stock buybacks, not executive giveaways, not layoffs.

    “That means capping corporate pay, prohibiting bonuses and golden parachutes for CEOs.

    “That means making certain workers and everyday Americans have a seat at the table where important business decisions are made so Main Street’s interests are fully considered – not just Wall Street’s. We can’t forget that most workers are the most valuable and important asset to a business of any size.” […]

    “Wash your hands. Stay home if you’re sick, practice social distancing, don’t buy more supplies than you need and if your community is advised to shelter in place, understand that experts are making that difficult call only because it’s absolutely necessary to protect you and your fellow citizens.

    “We will get through this.

    “Be healthy, be safe and be kind to each other.”

    Link to the text of his address is here: Chairman Peter DeFazio Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

    • bfitzinAR
      March 21, 2020 at 11:28 am

      Thanks, Jan. I just boosted it. I appreciate you bringing these to us always but especially now. {{{HUGS}}}

  7. JanF
    March 21, 2020 at 6:29 am

    From Speaker Pelosi on the Senate Republican plan for the next coronavirus crisis bill:

    March 20, 2020

    Dear Democratic Colleague,

    Since Day One, House Democrats have made clear that the American people need a nationwide, whole-of-government and evidence-based approach to the coronavirus crisis. We have passed two strong bills to do so. Our first bill allocated billions of dollars for research for treatments and a vaccine and our second bill put Families First and focused on testing, testing, testing.

    Now, today, we have reached another critical moment in our work to address this public health emergency. As you know, Senator McConnell has released his proposal for a third coronavirus response package, which is not at all pro-worker and puts corporations ahead of working people. As written, it is a non-starter.

    Our Committees are hard at work on legislation that is truly visionary, fast-acting and evidence-based. They are also engaged in conversations with the Senate about provisions that could be added to improve the Senate bill. First and foremost, our response must address the coronavirus outbreak as the public health crisis that it is: rebuilding our health care infrastructure on a national scale and securing the resources to test and treat everyone. We must do everything that we can to support doctors and scientists as they pursue treatments, a cure and a vaccine.

    At the same time, we must tighten the safety net in America, which is sadly and seriously frayed. Any response package must greatly increase Unemployment Insurance and Medicaid, help small businesses survive, expand paid sick and family leave and put money directly into the hands of those who need it most.

    United by our values, as we protect the health and economic security of the American people, House Democrats will put Families and Workers First.

    best regards,
    Nancy

  8. JanF
    March 24, 2020 at 6:52 am

    Here is the outline of legislation proposed by the Democratic House for the 3rd coronavirus response bill, the “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act”. This would be to replace the Senate bill which is a big gift to Republican donors at the expense of workers, hospitals, and students.

    March 23, 2020

    Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released this statement ahead of the unveiling of House Democrats’ third coronavirus response bill, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act:

    “The Senate Republicans’ bill, as presented, put corporations first, not workers and families. Today, House Democrats will unveil a bill that takes responsibility for the health, wages and well-being of America’s workers: the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.

    “Democrats Take Responsibility:

    – For our workers and small businesses: our bill requires that any corporation that takes taxpayer dollars must protect their workers’ wages and benefits – not CEO pay, stock buybacks or layoffs. It gives our small businesses fast relief with grants and loans to tide them through this crisis. And it strengthens Unemployment Insurance so that it can replace the average wages of our workers who are losing their jobs and hours.
    For our doctors, nurses, health care workers and first responders: It gives hospitals and other health institutions the desperately needed funds to provide treatment and care to all those who are sick and to ensure they have the Personal Protective Equipment to protect health care workers and first responders. It protects our health care workers by requiring the Administration to enforce our stronger Occupational Safety and Health Administration protections. At the same time, it calls for the president to invoke the Defense Production Act immediately.
    For our families: It gives direct payments to America’s families in a robust way and strengthens Child Tax Credits and the Earned Income Tax Credit. It gives more workers the security of guaranteed paid family and medical leave, including those caring for our seniors. And it makes coronavirus treatment free for the patient.
    For our students: Pumps nearly $40 billion into schools and universities, with $30 billion directly provided to states to help them stabilize their funding for schools and nearly $10 billion to help alleviate the harm caused by coronavirus on higher education institutions, while providing them with added flexibility to continue operating during the crisis. The legislation also helps current borrowers with their student debt burden and GI bill benefits. We also bolster SNAP and other initiatives to address food insecurity.
    For our Democracy: Ensures that states can carry out this year’s election with billions in grant funding for states through the Election Assistance Commission and a national requirement for both 15 days of early voting and no-excuse absentee vote-by-mail, including mailing a ballot to all registered voters in an emergency.

    “I am grateful to our Committee Chairs and members for their extraordinary work for America’s workers and families. Because of the Senate Democrats, progress has been made. We urge the Senate to move closer to the values in the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.”

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