Mon 3/23: No, bad GOP! Put workers first!

Action: The GOP just can’t help themselves. $600 to the poor, weak worker protections and billions to corporations. Say “No!”

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is mad that his munificent “corporate bailout” scam isn’t slipping through unchecked. Democrats are protesting that the GOP’s bill “does too little to protect the unemployed, feed the hungry, subsidize states and cushion students facing mounds of debt. They’re also up in arms over language to provide up to $500 billion in loans and guarantees for corporations, at the sole discretion of the administration.

It amounts to a blank check for Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told MSNBC Sunday night. “That’s outrageous, and that’s not going to happen.

While McConnell wants us to focus on his $1,200 per adult chicken-in-every-pot scheme, the GOP can’t help kicking those who are most vulnerable to hunger and homelessness – the poor would get only $600 under his plan, while his party continues to try stripping their health and nutrition benefits away.  According to Democrats, the GOP bill is also missing meaningful protections for workers – under the bill’s vague language, corporations could take federal help and still fire their employees! It hasn’t expanded paid sick leave DURING A PANDEMIC(!!!) and it caps how much employers have to pay.

Déjà vu – Remember how excited the GOP got during the 2017 Tax Reform Scam? How they left most of America out in the cold while their donors and lobbyists (and our president) scooped up the goodies? That’s how they roll. And just to make sure the stage is set for the next pandemic/recession, the bill has only “very weak” stock buyback restrictions that can be waived away by Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin. Those who’ve abused buybacks in the past will be rewarded – $50 billion for passenger airline companies and others who’ve spent their tax refunds and corporate profits on CEO bonuses and dividends to shareholders instead of employee compensation. Executive compensation would be capped for only two years.

Minimal script:  I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep./Sen. [___] to see that the third coronavirus package includes nationwide vote-by-mail, direct cash assistance that treats all Americans fairly, no unaccountable corporate bailouts, generous taxpayer equity in corporations that take our money and stronger economic supports for workers and families!

More script if you want it: What we also want… (pick some of your favorite points from the list below -“What would a bill look like that put us first?”)

Contact
Rep. Julia Brownley: email(CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal:
email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

What would a bill look like that put us first? 

This list included points from Indivisible.org, Senator Elizabeth Warren. Rep. Maxine Waters and Senator Bernie Sanders, and Vice President Joe Biden.

  • Our democracy safeguarded.
    • Nationwide vote by mail, as laid out in the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act.
      • States must expand vote by mail, extend voting deadlines, communicate extensively with voters about date changes, polling closures, or other critical election information
      • States must expand online voter registration
      • The federal government can assist by funding election infrastructure, requiring no-excuse absentee voting in federal elections, and provide additional drop-boxes for ballots in federal buildings and post offices
      • Take action now to ensure that the November election can happen safely as planned and without disenfranchising any voter, even under pandemic conditions.
      • Include the DETER Act in the bill.
      • Include HR 1 in the bill.
    • Use the power of the Federal Reserve to support state and local governments. Through the power granted under section 14(2)(b) of the Federal Reserve Act, the Fed will buy short-term municipal debt securities. This will help stabilize state government finances and provide states and localities the financial support they need to address this health and economic crisis.
    • “Emergency Economic Crisis Finance Agency,” which would be charged with handling the financial downturn unleashed by what is now a global pandemic.
    • Immediately restore the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which was established by the Obama-Biden Administration and eliminated by the Trump Administration in 2018.
    • Fight climate change as a driver of health threats. The link between climate change and health security is well-documented and will create a growing threat to Americans.
  • Ensuring the health care system can meet the scope of this crisis
    • Emergency Temporary OSHA Standard to protect frontline workers
    • Higher federal share (FMAP) for state Medicaid programs
    • Non-exclusive licenses for vaccine/treatment
    • Special enrollment period for the exchanges
    • End to surprise billing
    • Cover all health care treatment for free, including coronavirus testing, treatment, and the eventual vaccine. Under this proposal, Medicare will ensure that everyone in America, regardless of existing coverage, can receive the health care they need during this crisis.
    • Huge investment in preparedness and support for frontline medical workers, hospitals, clinics and health centers.
    • Ensure that public health decisions are made by public health professionals and not politicians, and officials engaged in the response do not fear retribution or public disparagement for performing their jobs.
    • The GOP should show good faith by removing the lawsuit against the Affordable Card Act.
  • Supporting workers
    • Repeated checks every month for the duration of the crisis.
    • Universal paid sick days, family leave, and expanded Unemployment Insurance to fill in the gaps from the second coronavirus response bill including:
      • Paid Leave for Sick Workers;
      • Paid Leave for Workers Caring for Family Members or Other Loved Ones;
      • Paid Leave for People Unable to Continue Work Because They Are At Increased Risk of Health Complications Due to COVID-19;
      • Paid Leave and Child Care Assistance for Dealing with School Closings; and
      • Paid Leave for Domestic Workers, Caregivers, Gig Economy Workers, and Independent Contractors.
    • Companies must maintain payrolls and use federal funds to keep people working.
    • Businesses must provide $15 an hour minimum wage quickly but no later than a year from the end
    • Extend unemployment benefits to tipped workers, gig workers, domestic workers, freelancers and independent contractors to make up for the income they will lose during this crisis. Under this proposal, everyone who loses a job must qualify for unemployment compensation at 100 percent of their prior salary with a cap of $75,000 a year.
    • Protect farmers. Suspend all Farm Service Agency loan payments to protect farmers during this crisis, extend crop insurance and emergency loans to all affected farmers, extend rural development loans, and expand the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to both help alleviate hunger throughout the country and support our farmers during this crisis.
    • Ensuring Unemployment Benefits (UI) Are Available to Those Who Lose Jobs but Would Be Denied Benefits Due to Rules that Should Not Apply in a Major Health Crisis and Economic Downturn.
    • Employment Relief for Reduced Hours or Work-Sharing Arrangements
    • Support for Child Care and Remote Student Learning.
    • Protecting union health funds.

Supporting  small businesses

    • Support additional grants for small businesses
    • Support tax rebates for small businesses
    • Suspend commercial rental payment by private sector actors.
    • Utilize the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund to support small businesses as well as low-income communities.
    • Reauthorize the State Small Business Credit Initiative, which helped after the the 2008 recession.
    • Provide reimbursement to employers or, when necessary, direct payment to workers for up to 14 days of paid sick leave or for the duration of mandatory quarantine or isolation. This will be in addition to existing paid leave provided by a business’s existing policies. No worker or contractor taking such leave during the crisis will impose any additional financial burden on a business.
  • Preventing unaccountable corporate bailouts

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    • No taxpayer funds should be used for executive bonuses, stock buy-backs, “golden parachute” payments, or dividends.
    • Companies would be barred from paying out executive bonuses while they receive federal funds and the ban would be in place for five years. Executive compensation would be controlled until we’re completely paid back, with interest.
    • Any corporation receiving a bailout should be required to wipe out all shareholder equity, zero out all CEO deferred compensation packages, and replace its top five corporate officers as well as its entire board of directors. Reputable experts have been warning about the economic and business risks of pandemics for years. If business leaders didn’t prepare their organizations, they own the consequences.
    • Businesses would have to provide at least one seat to workers on their board of directors, though it could be more depending on size of the rescue package.
    • Collective bargaining agreements must remain in place.
    • Corporate boards must get shareholder approval for all political spending.
    • CEOs must certify their companies are complying with the rules and face criminal penalties for violating them.
    • The government would take equity positions in all companies who take bailout funding.
    • Require corporations to disclose supply chain disruption and pandemic risk.
    • Require corporations to make human capital disclosures, environmental, social and governance disclosures, and political campaign contribution disclosures and how the financial assistance provided to the company was used to support the company’s employees.
    • Create an oversight agency to fight corporate corruption and price-gouging.
    • For airlines Infusion of money to the airlines must have some major strings attached, Including new rules to prohibit consumer abuses like unfair change and cancellation fees; protections for front-line workers like flight attendants, pilots, and airport workers; special consideration for our smaller, regional carriers not represented by the major trade associations; and the development of long-term strategies and targets to reduce the carbon footprint of the airline industry.“-  Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts
    • Consider nationalizing the airlines as a public utility.
    • The Transportation Workers Union have proposed a ban on Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings by companies that receive federal funds for five years.
  • Ensuring all policies include marginalized communities
    • Ensure that all persons residing in the Territories receive the same protections and relief as persons residing in the states.
    • Guarantee that no one goes hungry. We need to make sure that seniors, people with disabilities and families with children have access to nutritious food.
    • Construct emergency shelter and utilize empty or vacant lodging. We must ensure the homeless, survivors of domestic violence and college students quarantined off campus are able to receive the shelter, the health care and the nutrition they need and connect those individuals with social services to ensure nobody is left behind.
    • Free testing and treatment regardless of immigration status
    • Suspension of all immigration enforcement activities
    • Increase Social Security payments to seniors
    • No additional money for ICE and CBP, no matter what they say!
  • Provide direct cash assistance and economic support to individuals and families
    • Pass H.R. 5187, the “Housing is Infrastructure” Act. (Neither Carbajal or Brownley have signed on yet. Call them. )
    • Suspend all negative consumer credit reporting during the pandemic and for 120 days after. Require flexible repayment options.
    • Suspend all debt collection, repossession, and garnishment of wages during the pandemic and for 120 days after. Require flexible repayment options.
    • Provide $5 billion in Emergency Homeless Assistance.
    • Ban all evictions, foreclosures, and repossessions–Including manufactured homes, RVs, and cars nationwide.
    • Suspend rental and utility payments for Assisted Renters and provide rental and utility payment assistance for non-assisted renters.
    • Require forbearance for mortgages on rental properties.
    • Provide $10 billion for community development block grants.
    • Provide waivers and authorities to modify existing programs to respond to the crisis.
    • Provide student debt cancellation or at least 10,000 for each indebted borrower.
    • Suspend the work and community service requirements in federal housing programs.
    • Provide $300 million for service coordinators to assist elderly households.

 

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