Pelosi, Schumer to President Trump on Coronavirus Response: Put Health and Safety of American People Before Corporate Needs

March 8, 2020
Press Release
Dem Leaders Say Any Proposal to Address Outbreak’s Impact on Economy Must Include Paid Sick Leave for Workers, Among Other People-Focused Initiatives

Washington, D.C. – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer released the following joint statement today urging President Trump to prioritize the needs of American workers and their families before the needs of major corporations in the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak:  

We are hoping to work with the administration on a coordinated, government-wide plan to respond to the coronavirus.  We are pleased that we passed an emergency response bill on an overwhelming, bipartisan basis that provided a significant increase in resources beyond the administration’s request. 

“However, President Trump continues to manufacture needless chaos within his administration and it is hampering the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.  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. 

  • Paid sick leave — workers impacted by quarantine orders or responsible for caring for children impacted by school closures must receive paid sick leave to alleviate the devastating consequences of lost wages;
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance — we must ensure unemployment insurance benefits are available and sufficient for workers who may lose their jobs from the economic impacts of the epidemic;
  • Food security — we must expand SNAP, WIC, school lunch and other initiatives and suspend implementation of any regulations that weaken federal food assistance, in order to ensure vulnerable populations do not lose access to food during this epidemic; 
  • Clear protections for frontline workers — we must have clear standards and sufficient distribution of necessary protective equipment for health care and other workers who are in contact with people who have been exposed or are suffering from the virus as well as the people responsible for cleaning buildings and public facilities;
  • Widespread and free coronavirus testing — to control the spread of coronavirus, the administration must ensure that all Americans who need an evaluation are able to access locations for cost-free testing and rapidly increase the unacceptably low daily test processing capacity inside the U.S.; 
  • Affordable treatment for all — patients must be reimbursed for any non-covered coronavirus-related costs, or else the epidemic will be worsened because Americans will fear they cannot afford the costs associated with treatment; 
  • Anti-price gouging protections — we must ensure that Americans are protected from price gouging of medical and non-medical essentials during this emergency;
  • Increase capacity of medical system — we must use our emergency response mechanisms to mobilize resources and facilities in order to respond to surges in demand.

“The administration must move more quickly and seriously to address the severe impacts of the coronavirus on the financial security of America’s families.”