The $2.2 trillion federal coronavirus aid package poised to clear Congress today is a "good down payment" on what the nation needs to pull through this crisis, says our parent union, AFSCME International. The bill includes many provisions for state and local governments and workers because public service workers raised their voices and demanded respect and support for our communities in need.
The relief bill approved by the Senate late Wednesday “provides a good down payment to fund the frontlines,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders in a statement Thursday. “It fast-tracks personal protective equipment for first responders; it provides direct assistance to state and local governments; and it provides a safety net for all Americans affected by this pandemic.”
However, President Saunders is very concerned that frontline public workers, facing life-and-death work, still lack masks and other protective equipment they need to do their jobs. He urges the President to accelerate production through executive powers. He also says more federal intervention will undoubtedly be required to support workers and get the economy moving again.
Important steps in this bill include $150 billion in direct assistance to state and local governments so they can rebuild public services; a sizable investment in K-12 schools, higher education, transportation, housing, public health, first responders and a host of other public services; a critical extension in federally funded Unemployment Insurance benefits; and oversight measures to prevent federal support for businesses from becoming “a vehicle for crony capitalism.” Read more.