Washington, D.C. — An in-depth report from the Center for American Progress lays out a series of recommendations for what Congress should include in its fourth coronavirus relief package. In the first three packages, Congress provided a down payment on the emergency response to the dual public health and economic crises. But with each passing day—exacerbated by the initial slow response by the Trump administration and its continued failures as the crisis has deepened—it is increasingly clear that much more will be needed to allow for a robust public health response, provide relief commensurate to the economic disruption being felt, and protect the most vulnerable Americans. CAP believes that a fourth legislative package will need to be a least as large as the $2.2 trillion CARES Act and must include the following components:
- A commitment to aggressive, nationwide public health measures. These would include 1) a stay-at-home policy nationwide for at least 45 days, 2) expanding testing to include the sick and the healthy 3) instantaneous contact tracing, and 4) targeted restrictions on large gatherings and mass transit beyond the 45-day period. Congress should also fund testing production and deployment, availability of personal protective equipment, and nationwide contact tracing and deep cleaning measures. It should also pass much-needed protections and supports for essential workers, who must be both safe and fairly compensated for their necessary work during this stay-at-home period.
- A significant expansion of the economic interventions included in the first three COVID-19 packages to reflect the expected magnitude and duration of the disruption. These measures must cushion the income shock that families, small businesses, and communities are facing right now. The federal government must support strategies to keep people in their jobs, avoiding the mass unemployment that will make it harder for people to weather both the crisis and its recovery. That means extending and expanding more robust unemployment insurance, including work-sharing; dramatically enhanced state and local aid; vigorous support for small businesses; more universally available paid leave; and larger direct payments to households, with measures automatically extended for as long as the crisis lasts. With increasing evidence that the administration plans to undermine protections in place for workers and taxpayers, Congress must strengthen oversight and restrictions for programs that provide corporate assistance. Finally, Congress must also take steps to allow us to safeguard both fair elections and public health.
- Supporting our nation’s most vulnerable people. Despite promising proposals in the House’s bill last month, the CARES Act fell short in addressing the disparate impact that the crisis is having on people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, and people experiencing poverty, reflecting weaknesses that existed in our economy well-before the crisis. The next package needs to expand health care coverage and food assistance while providing additional funding for and access to education and child care. Policy solutions must center the communities hardest-hit by the virus and the ensuing economic fallout. The CARES Act also regrettably left out millions of immigrant and mixed-immigration-status families, preventing American citizen children of undocumented immigrants from qualifying for stimulus payments.
“Congress has taken a series of extraordinary steps to address the coronavirus crisis, but as both the public health and economic tolls of the crisis increase, it’s clear that much more relief is needed,” said Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress. “The next relief package should support the aggressive public health measures we need to end the pandemic while expanding economic relief for struggling families, small businesses, and communities. It should make sure that relief is getting to those who are facing the greatest hardship, including people of color, immigrants, people experiencing poverty, and people with disabilities. Congress must put in place strong oversight to ensure that the measures it has enacted are being implemented quickly and fairly while giving people confidence that relief will be available for as long as the crisis lasts.”
Read: “America Needs Coronavirus Recovery Legislation to Meet the Magnitude of the Crisis at Hand” by the Center for American Progress
For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at gro.ssergorpnacirema@kcisucj.
To find the latest CAP resources on the coronavirus, visit our coronavirus resource page.