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Global Pandemic Apparently Still Not Enough for Senate GOP to Care About Everyday People — Their Coronavirus ‘Relief’ Bill is Proof

MARCH 19, 2020

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Global Pandemic Apparently Still Not Enough for Senate GOP to Care About Everyday People — Their Coronavirus ‘Relief’ Bill is Proof

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced the Republican coronavirus response proposal, and it’s clear from the proposal that Republicans are treating this global pandemic like business as usual: corporations first, everyone else second. They’re eliminating paid leave, kicking people off their health insurance during this worldwide public health crisis, giving massive tax cuts to mega corporations, creating a slush fund for bad-acting industries, and barely offering any financial security for everyday people. Even Republicans have come out against elements of this bill — you know it’s a bad proposal when people on both sides of the aisle are opposed.

“Senate Republicans could at least pretend to care about the people struggling to make ends meet during this global pandemic and economic crisis. But instead, their proposal is just shameless — prioritizing obscene tax cuts and bailouts for the very corporations that are in the midst of laying off hundreds of thousands of employees is unconscionable and unforgivable,” said Tax March Campaign Director Dana Bye. “And, to add insult to injury, McConnell and his friends have proposed eliminating paid leave for thousands of us, rolling back an agreement they came to just yesterday, and offering us the weakest form of financial support they possibly could. The American people will not let this extremely flawed bill pass, and they certainly will not forget who backed it in the first place.”

The Senate GOP’s coronavirus relief package features:

  1. Paid Leave? You Wish: McConnell’s plan aims to limit paid leave for thousands of Americans, which would force your neighbors to work when they’re sick. In the midst of a global pandemic where experts are advising social distancing, we ask: How is this helping anyone? 
  2. Allowing Corporations to Strip Their Employees of Health Insurance: This plan takes away the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, which requires employers to offer health insurance to their workers. In the midst of a global health crisis, we ask: How is this helping your constituents? 
  3. Tax Cuts for Mega Corporations: Surprised? No, neither are we. In classic fashion, Senate Republicans have proposed eliminating employer payroll taxes. That does a lot to help employers, but nothing to help employees. We’re tired of asking, too: How is this helping anyone?
  4. Bailouts for Exploitative Corporations: The Senate GOP proposal would force taxpayers to bail out the very corporations that have been ripping off the American public, including $208 billion for loans or loan guarantees to air carriers and other distressed industries, including $50 billion for passenger air carriers, $8 billion for freight air carriers, and a $150 billion slush fund for any of the President’s cronies. How is this helping anyone?
  5. ‘Recovery’ Rebates: Rather than offering the American people a hand up during unprecedented and economically turbulent times, this proposal just kicks people while we’re down. Under this proposal, people would get just $1,200 — that is, unless you are one of the millions of Americans with no federal income tax liability. Then, you only get $600 — once. Meanwhile, other members of Congress like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) have proposed $2,000 direct cash transfers on an ongoing basis. How is this helping anyone?

The Senate Republicans’ proposal not only does not give real help to people, it actually cushions the blow of an economic crisis for the very corporations that have put the rest of us in this position, at our expense. 

We, the people, are restaurant servers, retail workers, teachers, small business owners, gig economy workers, and we are the backbone of our economy. And, with all of the uncertainty around people’s paychecks right now, we need guaranteed ongoing economic security financed by the lawmakers we elected to handle crises like this one. 

Half-measures and corporate giveaways won’t cut it. If they have any semblance of sympathy for the American people right now, Senate Republicans should tear this proposal up, start over again, and work with Democrats to focus on solutions that uplift everyday people.

Do your job, Mitch McConnell.

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