OPINION: Republicans’ COVID-19 relief bill doesn’t match the scale of the crisis

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By RANDI WEINGARTEN
President
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

Mitch McConnell finally released his proposal last week. I’m sure you’re not surprised, but the proposal is bad. Simply put, it doesn’t match the scale of the crisis.

What McConnell is proposing for families and public education is woefully inadequate given the expenses schools are facing to reopen safely and people are facing just to stay afloat. It falls dramatically short by ignoring what schools need to reopen safely and, instead, prioritizes the president’s political agenda, tying the funding to in-person instruction and diverting money for private school vouchers. There is no money for states and no protections for health care workers. And it leaves people who have lost their jobs in the biggest economic crisis in a generation wondering if they’re going to get any help at all.

We need to extend the enhanced unemployment benefits. McConnell is standing in the way. People are facing an eviction crisis. Renters need relief, but Republicans are more interested in bailouts for corporations than passing a bill that helps people.

Can you believe it? GOP lawmakers are actually using the COVID-19 pandemic to try to pass a bill with political goals they couldn’t pass on their own. To rub salt in the wound, while this proposal includes no protections for workers on the front lines of fighting the pandemic, it does include a nice bailout for corporations and other employers to limit their liability if employees get sick on the job.

The Senate needs to hear from you right now. Call your senators and tell them that McConnell’s proposal is bad.

I know we’re all busy, but I want to thank you for consistently taking action. We’ve driven tens of thousands of emails and phone calls to the Senate. Let’s keep it going and stop McConnell’s bad proposal.

 

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