We must rise to the moment with bold, inclusive & immediate action

We’re in a global pandemic. The third week of March has seen more job loss than any other in our history and more businesses closed. We know that this crisis will disproportionately harm the most vulnerable in society, including those harmed and directly impacted by our broken immigration and criminal justice systems.

Policy Priorities

Some actions, but not all, that Congress & Elected Officials must take:

  • An unprecedented surge in public health spending, starting with universal free coronavirus tests and health care coverage they need at no cost. This coverage must be extended to vulnerable populations throughout our society, such as undocumented immigrants and people who are incarerated. We also need to ensure health care workers on the front lines of this crisis have the resources and equipment they need.
  • Send a check to everyone across the country for a few thousand dollars, each month, and keep doing it until this crisis is behind us. Don’t means test; do it for all, right now.
  • Provide zero-interest loan assistance to any small business who needs it and some targeted tax relief for others so they don’t fire their workforce. This means making sure restaurants, home health care providers — and not just big companies — can keep people paid and stay afloat.
  • Expand unemployment insurance and safety net programs and benefits.  This should include plans and emergency funds to cover child care and medical care, and specific support for those at the frontlines of this crisis.
  • Release people from the public health disaster that are jails, detention centers, and prisons. Federal, state, and local officials should be looking for every opportunity to dramatically reduce incarcerated populations, who are at some of the highest risk.
  • Automatically extend or renew visas or immigration benefits that are set to renew in the next year. This should include DACA recipients who may no longer be able to renew because of the closure of USCIS offices and require an active DACA status to be eligible for protection from deportation and to be able to continue to legally work in the U.S. Many DACA recipients are healthcare workers on the front lines of this crisis.
  • Provide immediate relief from debt collections, immigration enforcement, and eviction.

Not only is this agenda absolutely imperative for our nation, it is now very popular.

New polling memo from Data for Progress shows strong support for critical, huge and urgent interventions to provide a surge of health care investment—centering on access to free tests and health care coverage for all—as well as cash payments to all Americans. They find “free access to testing, vaccines, and proposals for paid sick and family leave are all supported by at least 66% of voters….Paid leave proposals also had strong bipartisan support. Overall, 66% of voters support paid sick leave for all workers.”  Moreover, their polling shows that in just two weeks, sending every American cash has gone from unpopular (33% support; 48% oppose) to extremely popular (58% support; 26% oppose), a massive swing. As they write: “voters, faced with the tumbling economy and the oppressive strain of Covid-19, see the logic: People need money, so give it to them.”

The CDC has identified individuals who are vulnerable because of underlying issues such as asthma, heart disease, lung disease, and asthma. An additional polling memo released today from The Justice Collaborative, R Street Institute, and FWD.us shows strong bipartisan support for immediate action to reduce the jail and prison populations to combat the spread of coronavirus. Sixty-six percent of voters think elected officials should be considering action that would reduce overcrowding in prisons and jails. 

This is going to require a multi-trillion dollar, all hands on deck approach that remains focused on how is going to get hit the hardest in the months ahead. We are the richest country in the history of the world. The question is not “what can we afford”—but rather, we all need to understand that we cannot afford not to take bold action right now.

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