The COVID-19 virus is posing enormous challenges to the United States and world at large. We are suffering both an acute public-health emergency and a staggering blow to the economy. In order to save lives, protect working families, and boost our economy in sustainable and healthy ways, we need to take actions that are swift, bold, and well beyond what Congress has thus far been willing to approve.

In order to ensure measures are taken in Congress that protect workers over corporations we must remain politically active and informed as an electorate.  ADA volunteers, leaders and staff are continuously working to keep our networks informed of opportunities for action and resources for use with local organizing.  Below you will find up-to-date resources and announcements relating to political activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Check back here often to stay informed.  Also, please sign up below to receive ADA's more detailed legislative updates, issue resources and opportunities to take action locally.  We hope you and your family stay healthy and safe during this crisis!

HERE ARE CURRENT LEGISLATIVE UPDATES & ACTION ITEMS:

After President Biden took office at the end of January 2021, he pledged to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic head on.  The Biden administration immediately began crafting a large COVID relief package titled The American Rescue Plan.

After more than 24 hours of voting on amendments, including the longest single vote in the history of the Senate, the American Rescue Plan officially passed the U.S. Senate on March 6th with a final vote of 50-49, with every single Republican present voting NO.  The $1.9 trillion final bill passed the U.S. House and was signed by President Biden on March 12thClick here to find a summary of items included in the American Rescue Plan. 

     

December 2020:

Following weeks of intense negotiations, on Monday December 21, Senate Democrats broke through partisan gridlock to secure an agreement on a $900 billion emergency COVID-19 relief package. This agreement is far from perfect, but it will deliver emergency relief to Americans across the country who are struggling during this once in a generation pandemic and economic crisis. It is the second largest federal emergency package in our nation’s history, and it will provide the incoming Biden-Harris administration with a set of tools to help carry our country through until we can deliver even more support to American families, workers and small businesses.

You can find details of the year-end COVID-19 package as compared with the fall version of the Heroes Act and the Republican proposal here.  The text of the spending package, H.R. 133, is available here.  A division-by-division summary of the coronavirus relief provisions in the bill can be found here.  

Despite the historic nature of this legislation, Congress still needs to bring relief to many Americans, especially to state and local governments.  Congress still must pass many of the provisions found in the HEROS Act.

May 2020:

On May 15th, the U.S. House lead by Speaker Pelosi, passed by a margin of 208-199, H.R. 6800, ‘‘Health and Economic 5 Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act’’ or the ‘‘HEROES Act."  Click here to see how your Member of Congress voted.  You can find the full text of the bill here, and a short summary from the House Appropriations Committee here. The bill contains the following provisions:

The House passed the HEROES Act on May 15. Then, months later, the Republicans introduced and passed a woefully insufficient, scaled down relief package they called the HEALS Act. The $1 trillion package highlighted liability protections for businesses, reduces unemployment benefits to $200/week, and provides a payroll tax credit to businesses.

In early October, House Democrats passed a scaled-back HEROES Act 2.0 to address the acute current public health and economic crisis--in an attempt to get some relief to people in the face of a total logjam from the GOP Senate. The HEROES Act 2.0 was a response to Trump and Senate Republicans' intransigence, and is likely to get no support from Republicans in the Senate.

Here's a breakdown of the differences between the original and the HEROES Act 2.0.
  • $1200 cash payments to adults, $500 for dependents, including ITIN filers--an essential way to include immigrant taxpayers in relief. 
  • Restores $600 Unemployment Insurance payments through end of January; extends UI by 13 weeks; includes caregivers and more. 
  • Use of Defense Production Act to produce necessary PPE and other equipment, and new OSHA Standards to protect essential workers. 
  • Extends paid sick, family and medical leave and ends the exclusion for large employers. 
  • More $ for education and child care, $182 billion for K-12 schools; $57 billion to support child care for families; $15 billion to close the digital divide.
  • Additional assistance for airline industry workers, extending Payroll Support Program to keep airline industry workers paid.
  • $3.6 billion for secure elections, $15 billion for the postal service and $410 million for the census. 
  • Automatically extends work permits for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients.
  • Moratorium on foreclosures, shutoffs of water or energy, consumer debt collection and negative credit reporting. 
A few of the key removed or substantially reduced provisions:
  • No hazard pay for Essential Workers--the HEROES Act had a $200 Billion "Heroes Fund."
  • Substantial decrease in Emergency Rental Assistance and Homeowner Assistance from $175 Billion to $71 Billion, and cuts in aid for the homeless or people at risk of homelessness from $11.5B to $5B.
  • Substantial reduction in aid to state, local and tribal governments from ~$1 trillion to ~$436 billion, to cover one year’s worth of assistance. 
HERE ARE ADA'S PRINCIPLES FOR FUTURE RELIEF PACKAGES:

Whatever public health measures we can put in place to address COVID-19 are sadly limited by the awful state of our health care financing system, and by the threadbare nature of our social safety net.  Congress can have a positive immediate impact by passing protections for workers and eliminating out-of-pocket expenses for patients undergoing testing and treatment for COVID-19. Sign the petition to Congress to pass the Medicare for All Act!

In addition to the needs for the fourth relief package, ADA supports Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Ro Khanna's effort to pass an Essential Workers Bill of Rights. Essential workers are on the frontlines of this pandemic, and many are working in high-risk conditions without appropriate equipment, safety standards, or job protections. Congress must pass an essential workers bill of rights in the next federal relief package to provide needed protections, compensation, and safety nets to all essential workers, including:

Health and safety protections

Robust premium compensation

Protections for collective bargaining agreements

Truly universal paid sick leave and family and medical leave

Protections for whistleblowers

An end to worker misclassification

Health care security

Support for child care

Treat workers as experts

Hold corporations accountable for meeting their responsibilities

Sign the petition supporting the Essential Workers Bills of Rights here!

HERE IS INFORMATION ON THE THIRD CORONAVIRUS RELIEF PACKAGE:

Here's a summary of the third relief package - The CARES ACT:

HERE IS INFORMATION ON THE SECOND CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY BILL: 

HERE YOU CAN FIND POLLING DATA:
  • A majority of Americans continue to support expanded unemployment benefits, including nearly half of Republicans.

  • A new Navigator poll shows a majority of Americans support the proposed HEROES Act and say they would disapprove of Republicans in the Senate not considering the legislation or putting it up for a vote. This legislation is particularly popular among independents: 80% support it, while 60% disapprove of Republicans blocking it.
  • There's about $1 trillion in the new HEROES Act states need every dollar to help with relief and recovery.  AFSCME just released new polling that shows a supermajority of Americans support stimulus aid for states, cities and towns.
  • A recent CNN poll shows that most (54%) Americans continue to say that the U.S. government is doing a poor job preventing the spread of COVID-19 and a majority (52%) still see the worst of the outbreak ahead of us.
  • Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that Americans are opposed to ending social distancing measures too quickly and a large majority of U.S. adults oppose the recent protests to reopen the economy.
  • Data for Progress poll suggests that voters are supportive of monthly payments and that they want those payments to be generous.
  • Oxfam poll shows that voters support a response to the coronavirus that meets the scale of the crisis.
  • A recent New Navigator poll shows that Americans believe the president has been “unprepared” and “chaotic” in his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Here are 10 key findings from Gallup polls on the American public's perceptions of the coronavirus crisis and government efforts to deal with it.
  • After getting a bump in public support in March, President Trump's approval rating has dropped back below 50%. See the new Navigator poll here.
  • A Gallup poll shows that more Americans fear getting sick from the COVID-19 virus that financial harm.
  • A Pew Research poll show that Americans are afraid of ending the coronavirus lockdowns too soon.
HERE ARE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
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