Fighting Back: “Democrats will continue fighting for families, workers and small businesses.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM) discussing the Heroes Act and the need to help local governments including tribal governments who are particularly hard hit by the disastrous incompetence of the Trump Administration.

(Congresswoman Deb Haaland of New Mexico delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, the Congresswoman discussed H.R. 6800, The Heroes Act, urgently-needed legislation to address the unprecedented coronavirus health and economic crisis.)

The Trump Administration’s failed response to this coronavirus emergency has caused heartbreak and economic stress for families across our country and have laid bare the disparities that already exist in so many communities.

In particular, Indian Country has been hit very hard by this pandemic. Imagine getting sick and having to drive three hours just to see a doctor or to get to a phone. Imagine not having running water or electricity or public transportation.[…]

The Heroes Act provides economic stability, so we can begin the long road to economic recovery: $1,200 direct payments; hazard pay for essential workers; investments in broadband to help close the homework gap for kids; small business loans and grants that will reach underserved communities; and funds for testing, tracing and treatment of this virus.

We know state and local governments are stretched thin. That’s why we worked hard to include flexible funding so firefighters can stay on the job, police officers won’t get furloughed and the services that cities provide will remain intact. […]

The Heroes Act will also help address many of the disparities in Indian Country by providing $20 billion for Tribal governments, addressing Tribal business concerns on the Paycheck Protection Program loans and boosting funds for many Indian Health Service programs, including Urban Indian Health Centers.

When I vote for The Heroes Act, I will vote for all of our families and all our essential workers.

Note: The Heroes Act passed on Friday, May 15th in the U.S. House of Representatives. It will be sent to Senator Mitch McConnell, the self-identified “Grim Reaper”, where he will do what he does best – set the bill aside and ignore the needs of the American people in service to his donors and his sociopathic president.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congresswoman Deb Haaland Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hi, everyone, I’m Deb Haaland, Representative for New Mexico’s First Congressional District and proud member of the Pueblo of Laguna.

“I’m honored to be one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress in our country’s history. I’m like so many Americans. I’m a single mom and a proud daughter of veterans. My dad served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 30 years and my mother in the Navy.

“I understand the struggles that many people face, and I’m proud to stand with my colleagues to help our families to find success.

“House Democrats will act boldly to pass The Heroes Act, a bill that meets the challenge our country is now facing and at the level it demands.

“Families in New Mexico are sharing with me their concerns, fears and struggles, and like many Americans, they are afraid of losing their homes and businesses, struggling to buy food and to afford life-saving medication.

“I know what it’s like to care for a child on a limited income and to worry for an elderly parent who is in a senior living community.

“The Trump Administration’s failed response to this coronavirus emergency has caused heartbreak and economic stress for families across our country and have laid bare the disparities that already exist in so many communities.

“In particular, Indian Country has been hit very hard by this pandemic. Imagine getting sick and having to drive three hours just to see a doctor or to get to a phone. Imagine not having running water or electricity or public transportation.

“Sadly, two sisters on the Navajo Nation didn’t get the coronavirus treatment they needed in time, and they died. Their young sons will live without their mothers.

“Heroes come in all forms. They’re hospital workers, grocery clerks, teachers, letter carriers and people who stay home to take care of their elders and protect their communities.

“The Heroes Act provides economic stability, so we can begin the long road to economic recovery: $1,200 direct payments; hazard pay for essential workers; investments in broadband to help close the homework gap for kids; small business loans and grants that will reach underserved communities; and funds for testing, tracing and treatment of this virus.

“We know state and local governments are stretched thin. That’s why we worked hard to include flexible funding so firefighters can stay on the job, police officers won’t get furloughed and the services that cities provide will remain intact.

“As this pandemic impacts our democracy, we’re helping states make mail-in voting available to all voters, keeping the Postal Service open so every voter has access to the ballot box, boosting funding for the Census and delaying the Census deadline.

“A dad in my district called me when his son who serves in the military got stuck paying two sets of bills when the Defense Department halted personnel movements. The Heroes Act includes provisions that I fought for to help military families with the financial burdens caused by this pandemic.

“The Heroes Act will also help address many of the disparities in Indian Country by providing $20 billion for Tribal governments, addressing Tribal business concerns on the Paycheck Protection Program loans and boosting funds for many Indian Health Service programs, including Urban Indian Health Centers.

“When I vote for The Heroes Act, I will vote for all of our families and all our essential workers.

“House Democrats will continue fighting for all families, workers and small businesses throughout this uncertain time, and we call on the United States Senate to do the same and to pass The Heroes Act. Thank you, for your support of The Heroes Act.”

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 afternoon, everyone.

Thank you for being here. Here we are in kind of a new arena, so thank you.

I hope you’re all – now when I call my colleagues, I say, how are you? That used to be sort of a turn of phrase, and now it is a question: How are you? If you’re well, come here for Friday. If you’re not, stay home. Thanks for not sharing.

This is really quite an exciting time for us because we have a monumental need for our country at this sad time. You know the figures. You know the 85,000 people tragically dead. Nearly 1.4 million people infected. More than 36 million people have lost their jobs and filing for unemployment.

Yesterday, the Chairman of the Fed, Chairman Powell, estimated – he stated the need for Congress to act immediately and pass further economic relief. In his words, he said: Additional relief – additional fiscal support should be – could be costly but worth it if it helps avoid long term economic damage and leaves us with stronger – leaves us with a stronger recovery. That’s our hope. This tradeoff is one for our elected representatives who wield powers of taxation and spending. Chairman Powell of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Also, representatives calling for urgent action are the representatives of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank. And this morning, as you probably have seen, Dr. Rick Bright testified at the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee warning that next winter will be the ‘darkest winter in modern history’ unless we do more to fight the coronavirus.

So, the challenge is a clear one, and we are very proud of The Heroes Act, which addresses the urgent needs of – and the actions we want to take to meet those needs. The House will vote on The Heroes Act tomorrow.

And it has three pillars. The first pillar is to, again, open the economy, open the economy by science, which calls – and health experts who call for testing, tracing, treatment and isolation. Do that. And in the package put together by largely the Energy and Commerce Committee with the, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman Frank Pallone, assistance to hospitals, all that goes into that. It has a strategic plan, a strategic plan for testing, tracing, treating and isolating. It’s what this country needs to defeat the COVID-19 virus.

Secondly, honor our heroes. That’s the title of our bill: The Heroes Act. The health care workers, the first responders, police, fire, emergency services, sanitation, food workers, our teachers, transportation workers and the rest. The list goes on. Many of them risk their lives to save lives, and now they may lose their jobs because of the coronavirus and the cost that it is to their communities.

Third – no, first, open the economy. Test, test, test.

Two. Two, we want to honor our heroes by helping state and local entities.

And, three, we want to put money in the pockets of the American people. We’re doing that with direct payments to American families with Unemployment Insurance, with child tax credit, low income tax credit, employment retention tax credit, a number of different ways. And until it is necessary – not necessary anymore, this is the path that we have to be on.

All of the things that I have just mentioned have their origin, their provenance, they have been voted upon by the Congress in one or the other of the four coronavirus pieces of legislation. So, there’s nothing really new in what I had to say. The size and the strategy of it more emphasized, but not anything that we haven’t voted on before.

In addition to that, we want to help the Postal Service. We want to have a strong OSHA provision to protect our workers and to protect our employers, and we want to have more money for our election vote by mail initiatives. And one other piece that is sort of old and new again is the assistance that we want to have for our renters and for the homeowners who are seriously finding themselves at the mercy of forbearance for mortgages. So, that’s essentially what the bill is in that way.

And let me just characterize it for you because people said, ‘Oh, it’s just partisan.’ Wait a minute. The first CARES Act was written by the Senate Republicans, the Majority Leader of the Senate. He introduced the bill. We acted upon it. We came up with a bipartisan bill: the CARES Act.

The second – the interim bill for PPP was written by the Senate Republican Leader. He introduced it. We had suggestions, we negotiated, we acted upon it, and we had a bipartisan bill. So, it’s no different when the Leader in the House, a Democrat, writes a bill and says: Here is – many of the issues, more than 80 percent of the bill we have already passed in one way, shape or form. We have a few more things, more than 80 – well over 80 percent.

So now, we’re putting our offer on the table. We’re open to negotiation. And so, when people say partisan, it’s, like, wait a minute. It wasn’t partisan when they did it. Did you say that?

And we’re saying: Okay. Here is our offer. Let’s see where you are. You have supported supporting our heroes with state and local support before. You have supported testing in the first, very first bill we passed on May – on March 4th and the very most recent bill that we passed with $25 billion in testing, as you later agreed to. You have supported direct payments to the American people and support for Unemployment Insurance, et cetera. So these are no – these are just taking us further down the path of most of that legislation.

In case you’re curious, I want to just say that I sent this letter to my colleagues, actually just now, and in the letter I thank all of them, Democrats and Republicans alike, for their interest and leadership in helping meet the needs of the American people. I tell them about Chairman Powell’s statement, about the urgency of acting and our elected Representatives’ role – thank you – that they must play at this time in order to avoid further economic downturn.

And I also say to them that this is not new, that one side of the aisle might offer, put something on the table – as they did in the two previous bills, and now we’re putting ours and invite negotiation. What I just also tell them is that they can, in preparation for the vote on the Floor, I want to encourage them to consult the resources on The Heroes Act prepared by the committee of jurisdiction, including state-by-state estimates, estimations of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and the resources on relief provisions for your district and state prepared by the Appropriations Committee. Do we have a site?

Staff. Speaker.gov.

Speaker Pelosi. I urge you to support this life-saving legislation and to be present on Friday.

If you go to speaker.gov, to our friends who may be watching, if you go to speaker.gov, or to our friends who are in this room, you can see this letter. And, also, it will cite a place that you can go and say, what congressional district – who your Representative is or what district you live in, certainly what state you live in, and see how your community is directly affected.

We have two tranches. The first tranche, in no particular order, the recognition of the role that the states play in honoring our heroes, and that will be what goes to the state. And then, in terms of county and municipalities, it is also visible there. I think you’ll be very pleased.

I also think it is important to note that the enthusiasm that we have received for the legislation. The National Association of Counties, for the first time, they are discretely mentioned to get specific resources. The National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The list is a long one, very long. If you ask, I’ll tell you who’s on here, but it’s a very long list of organizations. The National Governors [Association], Governor of Maryland and New York put out a statement supporting this part of the bill, the honoring our heroes, state and local, part of the legislation. So, we’re very pleased about how that is all going.

So, here we are, a day before. A lot is going on, but for us, we have, this is our focus. Now, as I said, the four previous bills were all overwhelmingly bipartisan, and we hope that this one will be too. Sadly, though, Leader McConnell said, ‘We have not yet felt the urgency of acting immediately.’ That could – ‘That time could develop,’ he said, ‘but I don’t think it has yet.’

He wants us to just ‘pause.’ He wants us to just pause. But families know that hunger doesn’t take a pause, not having a job doesn’t take a pause, not being able to pay the rent doesn’t take a pause. The hardship of it all, losing a loved one or having someone in your family sick, it just doesn’t take a pause.

So, Members of the Congress, the House and Senate, need to come together. We have to come together to pass another bill, The Heroes Act, and deliver the relief that our families desperately need. And so, you know, the American people know, as I always say of them, the American people have hearts full of love. They want us to work together. We’re all heartbroken over the loss of life. The numbers of loss of life, infection, losing jobs, et cetera, are unimaginable. But they must – they exist, and we must act upon them. And so we want you to go look to speaker.gov to see how you can find out how you are affected directly in your district because all of these people, these heroes, they affect how your city, county, township, state, meet the needs of the American people.

And as I say, it’s to address – I’ll just close by saying that the funding is to address the outlays that community – that political entities have made to address the coronavirus crisis, and those are large, larger in some communities than others, but all communities have a high percentage of revenue lost because of the coronavirus crisis. And that’s part of the distribution of these funds as well.

I’ll go into this very prayerfully, having listened to so many people across the country express their concerns and to make a best effort to come together based on what we have done before in a bipartisan way but to go further because the coronavirus has gone farther.

With that, I’m pleased to answer any questions.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Speaker Pelosi appeared on Joy Ann Ried’s show on MSNBC and spoke about the Heroes Act. Here are some snippets from the interview.

Speaker Pelosi. This is one of the broadest bills that we’ve ever seen come before the Congress. It is a bill that is our marker that we are putting down for the American people.

We have passed four bills for the coronavirus challenge, and in those bills are the makings of what we have in this bill. Whether we’re talking about assistance to states and local as we honor our heroes; whether we’re talking about opening up our economy by testing, testing, testing; whether we’re talking about putting money into the pockets of the American people, all of those have a provenance, they have sprung from the four bipartisan bills that we have passed.

So, again, in those two of the bills, the CARES Act and the recent PPP additional interim act, those bills were started by the Leader of the Senate, the Republican Leader of the Senate. So, now, we on the House side are making our recommendation on all of this to begin the negotiation, and it has much bipartisanship in it already. It does have some momentous proposals.

When we do our aid to the states, it’s billions of dollars to the states and hundreds of millions and tens of millions of dollars depending on size of cities and townships and counties and the rest. This will make a remarkable difference for them to defray the cost of the coronavirus, but also to offset the revenue loss they have from the coronavirus.

This amount of money is not as much as Republicans put forth for their tax scam bill, keeping 83 percent of the benefits to the top one percent. So, when you think of it as being so big, it’s not as big as their tax scam.

Full transcript at the link.

~

1+

  7 comments for “Fighting Back: “Democrats will continue fighting for families, workers and small businesses.”

  1. JanF
    May 16, 2020 at 6:48 am

    Dear Colleague to All Members on Consideration of The Heroes Act

    May 15, 2020
    Dear Colleague,

    Today, the House will consider The Heroes Act to honor those on the frontlines – our health care, first responders, teachers, transit, food and other essential workers. Many of them risked their lives to save lives and now they may lose their jobs. For many of them, that is just what is happening as Governors across country are planning their budgets. As the coronavirus takes a vicious toll on lives and livelihoods in our country, it has also taken a toll on the ability of states to deliver services to the people. Governors will be forced to cut services and/or raise taxes.

    The Congress of the United States must honor its responsibility to the American people to lessen the blow of the coronavirus by making the serious investment of The Heroes Act to our state, local, tribal and territorial governments. The plan that we are voting on today will make a tremendous difference not only in the budgets of the states but in the lives of the American people: their public health, the education of our children, the sanitation so important to defeating the virus, with the support of so many essential workers.

    In addition, in defeating the virus, there is no substitute for testing. The legislation before us today puts forth a strategic plan to test, trace, treat and isolate. As families are devastated by the loss of life, this legislation places money in the pockets of the American people, which is also a stimulus to our economy. As Federal Reserve Chairman Powell said, ‘Additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery. This tradeoff is one for our elected representatives, who wield powers of taxation and spending.’ As elected representatives, we have the responsibility and the opportunity to ‘Think Big’ and act now For The People.

    Also as we gather, young people across the country are missing the thrill of their in-person graduations. They are our best hope for the future. We must give them hope by alleviating the challenge that our country faces to making the future better for them. I urge our colleagues to consider all of them, their own states and their own constituents as they make a decision today that is so important to our country.

    I thank all of you for your careful consideration of The Heroes Act. It important that we not only praise our Heroes but also support them.

    We always carry those who lost their lives to this virus in our hearts as we pray for their families and pray that God will continue to bless America.

    Sincerely,
    Nancy

    The Heroes Act passed the House on May 15, 2020 by a vote of 208 to 199.

    2+
    • May 16, 2020 at 10:29 am

      “Thanks for not sharing” could become the catchphrase of modern life, along with “the winter of 2020 could be the darkest winter in American history.”

      It’s good to hear from Deb Haaland. I should look to see if I can send a few bucks her way.

      Thanks for the “Fighting Back” post, Jan!

      2+
    • JanF
      May 16, 2020 at 4:56 pm

      President Barack Obama speaking to graduates of HBCUs.

      Hi, everybody. Congratulations to H.B.C.U. class of 2020. Michelle and I are so proud of you.

      Graduating from college is a big achievement under any circumstances. And so many of you overcame a lot to get here. You navigated challenging classes, and challenges outside the classroom. Many of you had to stretch to afford tuition. And some of you are the first in your families to reach this milestone.

      So even if half of this semester was spent at Zoom University, you’ve earned this moment. You should be very proud. Everybody who supported you along the way is proud of you — parents, grandparents, professors, mentors, aunties, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, second cousins, and cousins who you aren’t even sure are cousins. Show them some gratitude today.

      Now look, I know this isn’t the commencement any of you really imagined. Because while our H.B.C.U.s are mostly known for an education rooted in academic rigor, community, and higher purpose — they also know how to turn up. Nobody shines quite like a senior on the yard in springtime. Springfest at schools like Howard and Morehouse is the time when you get to strut your stuff a little bit. And I know that in normal times, rivals like Grambling and Southern, Jackson State and Tennessee State, might raise some eyebrows at sharing a graduation ceremony.

      But these aren’t normal times. You’re being asked to find your way in the world in the middle of a devastating pandemic and terrible recession. The timing is not ideal. And let’s be honest — a disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country. We see it in the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on our communities, just as we see it when a black man goes for a jog, and some folks feel like they can stop and question and shoot him if he doesn’t submit to their questioning.

      Injustice like this isn’t new. What is new is that so much of your generation has woken up to the fact that the status quo needs fixing; that the old ways of doing things don’t work; that it doesn’t matter how much money you make if everyone around you is hungry and sick; and that our society and democracy only works when we think not just about ourselves, but about each other.

      More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing. A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.

      If the world’s going to get better, it’s going to be up to you. With everything suddenly feeling like up for grabs, this is your time to seize the initiative. Nobody can tell you anymore that you should be waiting your turn. Nobody can tell you anymore “this is how it’s always been done.” More than ever, this is your moment — your generation’s world to shape.

      In taking on this responsibility, I hope you are bold. I hope you have a vision that isn’t clouded by cynicism or fear. As young African Americans, you’ve been exposed, earlier than some, to the world as it is. But as young H.B.C.U. grads, your education has also shown you the world as it ought to be.

      Many of you could have attended any school in this country. But you chose an H.B.CU. — specifically because it would help you sow seeds of change. You chose to follow in the fearless footsteps of people who shook the system to its core — civil rights icons like Thurgood Marshall and Dr. King, storytellers like Toni Morrison and Spike Lee. You chose to study medicine at Meharry, and engineering at NC A&T, because you want to lead and serve.

      And I’m here to tell you that you made a good choice. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve got more road maps, more role models, and more resources than the civil rights generation did. You’ve got more tools, technology, and talents than my generation did. No generation has been better positioned to be warriors for justice and remake the world.

      Now, I’m not going to tell you what to do with all that power that’s in your hands. Many of you are already using it so well to create change. But let me offer three pieces of advice as you continue on your journey.

      First, make sure you ground yourself in actual communities with real people — working at the grass-roots level. The fight for equality and justice begins with awareness, empathy, passion, even righteous anger. Don’t just activate yourself online. Change requires strategy, action, organizing, marching, and voting in the real world like never before. No one is better positioned than this class of graduates to take that activism to the next level. And from tackling health disparities to fighting for criminal justice and voting rights, so many of you are already doing this. Keep on going.

      Second, you can’t do it alone. Meaningful change requires allies in common cause. As African Americans, we are particularly attuned to injustice, inequality, and struggle. But that also should make us more alive to the experiences of others who’ve been left out and discriminated against.

      So rather than say what’s in it for me or what’s in it for my community and to heck with everyone else, stand up for and join up with everyone who’s struggling — whether immigrants, refugees, the rural poor, the L.G.B.T.Q. community, low-income workers of every background, women who so often are subject to their own discrimination and burdens and not getting equal pay for equal work; look out for folks whether they are white or black or Asian or Latino or Native American. As Fannie Lou Hamer once said, “nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”

      And on the big unfinished goals in this country, like economic and environmental justice and health care for everybody, broad majorities agree on the ends. That’s why folks with power will keep trying to divide you over the means. Because that’s how nothing changes. You get a system that looks out for the rich and powerful and nobody else. So expand your moral imaginations, build bridges, and grow your allies in the process of bringing about a better world.

      And finally, as H.B.C.U. graduates, you have to remember that you are inheritors of one of America’s proudest traditions. Which means you’re all role models now — whether you like it or not. Your participation in this democracy, your courage to stand up for what’s right, your willingness to forge coalitions — these actions will speak volumes. And if you are inactive, that will also speak volumes. Not just to the young folks coming up behind you — but to your parents, your peers, and the rest of the country. They need to see your leadership — you’re the folks we’ve been waiting for to come along.

      That’s the power you hold. The power to shine brightly for justice, for equality, and for joy. You’ve earned your degree. And it’s up to you to use it. So many of us believe in you. I’m so proud of you. And as you set out to change the world, we’ll be the wind at your back.

      Congratulations Class of 2020, and God bless you all.

      (At 1:47 into the video.)
      https://youtu.be/TapYJBMgn1E

      1+
  2. JanF
    May 23, 2020 at 8:54 am

    Democratic Party Weekly Address by Tammy Duckworth for Saturday, May 23:

    (Combat Veteran and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) delivers this week’s Weekly Democratic Address. In the address Senator Duckworth begins by highlighting the importance of remembering and honoring the men and women who have sacrificed everything for our nation and the need to ensure during this difficult time that our Veterans, along with all other Americans, have what they need to be safe. She also emphasizes that while Republicans are sitting on their hands, Democrats are working to eliminate Veterans’ health care costs as related to COVID-19, expand testing and contact tracing, boost funding for SNAP, and ensure everyone has the right to vote safely and securely.)

    We can never begin to repay the debt we owe [those warriors who sacrificed everything for the nation they loved] and their loved ones.

    “But it’s on us to try.

    “That doesn’t mean just spending 24 hours once every May reflecting on their memories. It means spending every day trying to lead the lives that actually honor sacrifices that they made in the way that they deserve.

    “Right now, those of us in Congress can begin to do that by ensuring that our Veterans, along with all other Americans, have what they need to stay as safe as possible during this global pandemic.

    “Because even while Mitch McConnell is trying to slow-walk the next relief package, claiming that he hasn’t yet, quote, ‘felt the urgency of acting immediately,’ the reality is that the folks I’m hearing from aren’t having any trouble feeling that urgency.

    “And I don’t know McConnell’s definition, but when more than 90,000 Americans, including more than 1,000 Veterans, have died in just three months, that certainly qualifies as urgent in my book.

    “The fact that countless Veterans are more vulnerable to COVID-19 because of their service, because they were exposed to Agent Orange when serving in Vietnam or exposed to burn pits in Iraq or suffering from Gulf War Syndrome, boy that sure seems urgent to me.

    More at the link: transcript.

    1+
  3. JanF
    May 23, 2020 at 8:57 am

    From Speaker Nancy Pelosi Dear Colleague to All Members on Protecting America’s Workers

    May 22, 2020
    Dear Colleague,

    Next week, Congress returns to Session under the careful, science-based guidance of the Office of the Attending Physician and Sergeant-At-Arms to ensure the health and safety of Members and staff. As we fight to defeat the coronavirus and open our economy, we must apply that same careful, science-based guidance to all.

    We do just that in The Heroes Act. Specifically, The Heroes Act:

    – Requires OSHA to issue an enforceable Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) within seven days that will require employers to develop and enact a comprehensive plan to protect their workers, based on CDC and other expert guidance;
    – Requires OSHA to issue a permanent strong, enforceable infectious disease standard within 24 months of enactment to require workplaces to develop and implement infection control plans, based on CDC expertise;
    – Further protects workers by banning retaliation from their employers if they report infection control problems in the workplace or if they bring their own more effective, respirators to work.

    Our essential workers – health care, first responders, teachers, postal, transit, sanitation, food and others – risk their lives each day on the frontlines and fear endangering their children and families when they return home from the job.

    Safety in the workplace is a matter of life-and-death. The numbers are staggering: tens of thousands of frontline workers have contracted COVID-19 and hundreds have tragically died, with millions more at risk as the economy begins to open. In the meat and poultry industry alone, at least 17,700 workers in 216 meatpacking and food processing plants have contracted COVID-19: an average of 82 infected workers per plant. New research shows that without proper safety protections, infections could skyrocket: a single plant with the average of 82 infections could see an outbreak of an additional 2,300 infections in as few as 12 days, potentially overflowing hospital ICUs in eight states.

    Alarmingly, as the threat of more workplace-based outbreaks looms, the Labor Department has opened only 358 inspections of the nearly 4,000 COVID-19-related complaints OSHA received. Sadly, most of these inspections have occurred only after a worker has died. OSHA has not issued a single citation.

    We cannot accept leaving workers in harm’s way, forcing them to sacrifice their health and that of their families, while potentially risking further outbreaks of this pandemic that will prolong this crisis.

    We are proud that The Heroes Act takes additional steps to protect workers by creating a $200 billion Heroes Fund for hazard pay for frontline essential workers who experience frequent, sustained exposure as they work to keep our country running. The bill also expands workers’ compensation coverage, increases access to emergency paid sick and family and medical leave to all workers, invests in worker training and re-training for job seekers and protects the pensions of more than one million workers.

    Workers are the backbone of our economy and country, during this pandemic and throughout our nation’s history. We cannot abandon them as they sacrifice on the frontlines.

    Please make your U.S. Senators aware of the life-saving investment that The Heroes Act makes in protecting America’s workers.

    Thank you and best regards,
    Nancy

    1+
  4. JanF
    May 23, 2020 at 9:06 am

    House of Representatives on Voting Rights – an existential crisis for small d democracy: Dear Colleague to All Members on Support for Voting Rights and Access in The Heroes Act

    May 21, 2020
    Dear Colleague,

    Today, we mark the milestone of 101 years since the House passed the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote.

    In a democracy, the right to vote is sacred and it is our responsibility to remove obstacles to the ballot box. As we celebrate the 19th amendment’s expansion of the vote, we must also welcome further opportunities to increase participation.

    In addition, at this time, the coronavirus is threatening lives and millions fear endangering their health and that of their families by going to the polling place. Very sadly, these fears have basis in fact: in Wisconsin, at least 67 state residents contracted COVID-19 after voting in-person or working at the polls April 7. Protecting access to the ballot is therefore a health priority – both for the health of the American people and the health of our American democracy.

    No one should ever be forced to choose between their health and their vote. For that reason, in CARES, we secured a strong down payment of $400 million for states to ensure safe access to the ballot—including voting by mail. This initial investment is strongly supported by state and local leaders; all 50 states have requested from the Elections Assistance Commission provided by the CARES Act and 98 percent of the money has been disbursed.

    As the bipartisan National Association of Secretaries of State recently wrote to Congress, “This money will help address the unique challenges each of our states face conducting elections during the COVID-19 pandemic… In this time of crisis, Secretaries of State throughout the nation are working to plan and hold free and fair elections, with our voters’ health and safety as the top priority.”

    Now, as the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on elections have continued to accelerate, nonpartisan experts agree that much more is needed to protect access to the ballot. The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that an additional $3.6 billion is necessary to ensure that all 2020 elections, including on the state and local level, are free, fair, safe and secure, including by expanding vote-by-mail, protecting in-person voting when necessary and bolstering online registration. More than 150 voting rights and democracy groups recently echoed that call, noting the critical importance of vote-by-mail for communities of color, Americans with disabilities and other vulnerable populations.

    In The Heroes Act, Democratic Members, in consultation with experts and state and local leaders, proudly insisted on strong, evidence-based measures that reflect these essential needs:

    – An additional $3.6 billion for states to expand safe, accessible elections;
    – Expanded vote-by-mail (no-excuse absentee), sending a ballot to every registered voter, postage prepaid;
    – Protections for in-person voting, including 15 days of early voting to allow for social distancing;
    – Online voter registration and same-day voter registration.

    The American people overwhelmingly support The Heroes Act and its provisions to save lives, livelihoods and the life of our American democracy. More than two-thirds of the public – and 8 out of 10 Independents – support The Heroes Act, according to a new Navigator Research poll. A new Quinnipiac Poll reaches the same conclusion.

    Again, as we observe the 101st anniversary of the House’s action and prepare for the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, let us honor our responsibility to our Democracy.

    Please make your U.S. Senators aware of the major investment that The Heroes Act makes in protecting the American people and their sacred right to vote, which is the cornerstone of our democracy.

    Thanks and best regards,

    Nancy

    1+

Comments are closed.