Democrats demand protections for workers as coronavirus spreads

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While Trump pushes for tax cuts for businesses amid coronavirus fears, Democrats are focused on protecting the economic security of workers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are urging Republicans to join with them in supporting protections for workers who may be forced to stay home from work during an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Donald Trump and his administration have so far only called for tax breaks for corporations impacted by the coronavirus, rather than proposing security measures for working people who could face severe hardship if they cannot go to work and earn money should they be quarantined.

"In light of reports that the Trump administration is considering new tax cuts for major corporations impacted by the coronavirus, we are demanding that the administration prioritize the health and safety of American workers and their families over corporate interests," Pelosi and Schumer wrote in a joint statement on Sunday.

Among the things Pelosi and Schumer want Republicans and Trump to work with them to pass are:

  • Guaranteed paid sick leave for workers who must stay home either because their offices are closed or because they must care for their children whose schools are closed;
  • Increased unemployment insurance for people who lose their jobs because of lost business owing to the coronavirus impact; and
  • Expanding food stamps, school lunch initiatives, and other federal grant programs that help families with children "in order to ensure vulnerable populations do not lose access to food during this epidemic."

Pelosi and Schumer are also demanding that regulations be placed on hospitals and medical systems that would require them to give free testing for the coronavirus and stop them from price gouging during the outbreak.

They said that without these protections, "the epidemic will be worsened because Americans will fear they cannot afford the costs associated with treatment."

It's unclear whether Trump and Republicans will agree to go along with Pelosi and Schumer's calls for legislation protecting workers and families.

Trump and Republicans have called coronavirus a "hoax" and an attempt to hurt Trump's reelection bid.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.