Statement of Lisa Gilbert, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Public Citizen
As the nation grapples with the many facets of the coronavirus crisis, we applaud U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for introducing a bold, people-first third stimulus package. We hope this proposal jumpstarts negotiations with the U.S. Senate, moving us toward a final bipartisan relief package that helps families and workers, bolsters our health infrastructure, protects our democracy and assists students who face debt burdens.
This proposal is not just at the appropriate scale to address the coronavirus crisis; it is informed by the right values and the right policy framework. The core value of the House legislation is to protect people in a time when the vulnerable have been made more so, and we hope that it spurs the Senate to respond with equal care. We need a coronavirus package that provides real relief, helping all Americans, not corporate interests.
Public Citizen particularly wants to highlight and applaud the following key provisions:
- The bill provides $4 billion to ensure that states can carry out this year’s election and includes a national requirement for both 15 days of early voting and no-excuse absentee vote-by-mail, including mailing a ballot to all registered voters in an emergency;
- The bill includes essential provisions that create worker-focused guardrails on corporate entities that receive taxpayer funds to keep them afloat, makes clear that the corporations we rescue must not lay off their workers, ensures that CEOs won’t be able to personally profit off the crisis and requires companies that receive funds to be more transparent about how they play politics with our money and where they pay taxes;
- The bill takes the important, needed step of establishing rigorous oversight of the bailouts with a congressional COVID-19 Aid Oversight Panel;
- The bill includes vital safeguards for health care workers and enhanced funds for personal protective gear – both a moral and public health necessity – to protect health care workers from exposure to the coronavirus and to allow them to keep doing their crucial work; and
- The bill makes the coronavirus treatment free to patients.