April 09, 2020

Cardin, Colleagues Outline Five Principles of Health & Economic Security to Guide Future Coronavirus Relief Packages

More than 900 organizations endorse principles for future relief packages, along with 80 members of House of Representatives

WASHINGTON U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) joined eight Senate colleagues today in releasing a set of five principles to guide future coronavirus relief and stimulus packages to protect workers and communities. In a letter to Senate leadership, the Senators recognized that choices being made during this response will shape society and policymaking for years, if not decades, to come and without consideration, policymakers risk exacerbating interrelated crises of income and wealth inequality, racism, and environmental and climate decline.

Also signing the letter are Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

“In this critical moment, we need to adequately respond to immediate needs and chart a path to a genuinely healthier and more equitable future through a just recovery,” write the Senators in their letter to Senate leadership. “Adhering to these five principles as further relief and stimulus packages are crafted to address COVID-19 will be critical for the long-term health of this nation.”

The five principles outlined by the lawmakers are:

  1. Health is a top priority, for all people, with no exceptions
  2. Provide economic relief directly to the people
  3. Rescue workers and communities, not corporate executives
  4. Make a down payment on a regenerative economy, while preventing future crises
  5. Protect our democratic process while protecting each other

The letter outlining the five principles can be found HERE.

Representatives Debbie Dingell, Pramila Jayapal, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Barbara Lee, and Mark Pocan are leading 80 members of the House of Representatives in a similar effort.

More than 900 organizations have endorsed these five principles, including union, health, business, environmental and climate justice, social and economic justice, Indigenous, youth, women's rights, faith, and immigrants' rights organizations.  Endorsing organizations include:

American Sustainable Business Council, BlueGreen Alliance, Center for Popular Democracy, Climate Justice Alliance, Communications Workers of America, Fight for $15, Health Care for America Now, Indigenous Environmental Network, Interfaith Power and Light, Jobs to Move America, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, People’s Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Service Employees International Union, Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, and United We Dream. See here for the full list of endorsing organizations

“Washington must take immediate bold action to protect our communities and rebuild a more resilient, more equitable, and more sustainable society,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “As we continue to grapple with the challenges COVID-19 poses, the Sierra Club is proud to rise with our allies to demand a just recovery.”

“Any future relief packages must put working people before corporations and protect all workers,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “Coronavirus did not create economic instability for millions of American families; it revealed what already existed. Now we have a chance to address structural inequality by ensuring everyone has paid sick days and access to affordable healthcare, and keeping immigrant families safe and welcomed in America.”

“Frontline communities have been here before and we know how corporations and special interest groups use people’s suffering for profit,” said Climate Justice Alliance Executive Director Angela Mahecha Adrar. “This is why we need a Just Transition away from extractive and polluting economies to economies that are governed and designed by local communities, and aim to protect workers while ensuring safe and sustainable energy.”

“Today, we learned that at least 10% of people in this country are unemployed. These numbers don't even reflect the scope of this worsening economic and public health emergency. Now is the time for direct relief to people, not corporations,” said Sunrise’s Legislative Manager Lauren Maunus. “We’re proud to join over 800 progressive groups and nearly 100 Congressional Democrats in demanding a People’s Bailout that puts public health, economic security for working people, and a sustainable climate front and center.” 

“House and Senate Republicans are using this crisis to jam through massive giveaways to corporations instead of saving the people and communities hurt most by Trump’s failure to act,” said People’s Action’s Climate Justice Campaign Director Kaniela Ing. “Our people were already struggling, and we refuse to die just to save Wall Street. Lawmakers must respond to this pandemic in a way that yanks us back from the abyss and actually prevents future catastrophes.” 

“Frontline communities have been here before and we know how corporations and special interest groups use people’s suffering for profit,” said Climate Justice Alliance Executive Director Angela Mahecha Adrar. “This is why we need a Just Transition away from extractive and polluting economies to economies that are governed and designed by local communities, and aim to protect workers while ensuring safe and sustainable energy.” 

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