Dear Democratic Colleague,
On May 15, five months ago today, the House passed the Heroes Act, with $3.4 trillion to meet the needs of the American people from the coronavirus pandemic and deep economic recession. Mitch McConnell responded that the states should just go bankrupt and we needed to take a pause. The virus did not take a pause. Today, over 217,000 Americans have tragically died and nearly 8 million have been infected.
During the five months of the Republicans’ deadly delay, over 130,000 Americans have died and another 6.5 million have been infected.
When Senator McConnell was asked in the debate why he was not willing to support coronavirus relief legislation, he laughed and continued to laugh. Clearly, neither Mitch McConnell nor President Trump took this pandemic seriously.
Now, we are engaged in further negotiations on the Heroes Act. Democrats have reduced our number by $1.2 trillion and further by absorbing nearly $400 billion of new obligations into our number.
The President vacillates from saying stop negotiating to saying “go big or go home.” Democrats will stay at the table for as long as takes to reach agreement to honor our heroes, crush the virus and put money in the pockets of the American people.
House Democrats know firsthand how necessary it is to come to agreement. To our constituents, we promise: HELP IS ON THE WAY. It will be safer, bigger and better, and it will be retroactive.
We must come to agreement as soon as possible, but not before we are truly helping the people without accommodating the Republicans’ surrender to the virus.
Crushing the virus has been central to our legislation. The Administration had refused to accept Chairman Pallone’s strategic plan and in fact erased all of our provisions to address the disparities facing communities of color. Today, Secretary Mnuchin said in our negotiations that they would accept our provision on testing with “minor” changes to the language. We are eagerly awaiting their proposed language.
However, even if this key priority is resolved, many other disagreements remain. These include but are not limited to funding for state and local government, tax benefits for working families, support for vulnerable small businesses and child care funding. In addition to these deficiencies, the Trump proposal contains multiple deadly poison pills – including their radical Liability Provision which forces workers to risk their lives in unsafe workplaces with no legal recourse.
Our disagreements are about more than dollars and cents. They are about values and common sense and respect for lives, livelihoods and life of our American Democracy.
Hopefully, the President’s statement to his team to “go big or go home” and to “absolutely” accept a larger relief package will translate into results.
Updates will continue to be ongoing.
Thank you for your leadership. Stay safe.
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