STATEMENT: CAP’s Neera Tanden on Leader McConnell’s Coronavirus Phase 3 Legislative Proposal

Washington, D.C. — Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement tonight reacting to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) coronavirus “phase three” legislative proposal:

The public health and economic crisis we now face is unprecedented. As governors and mayors carry out necessary but painful measures to stem the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans will be left facing economic struggles of an unknown magnitude. It is unconscionable and unacceptable to propose a stimulus package centered on bailouts and corporate tax cuts that also fails to help the people most hurt by the downturn that is already here—those living paycheck to paycheck; who suddenly lost their job; who are at risk of foreclosure or eviction; and who lack emergency paid leave, among others.

While exceptional measures will be required to stem even just the initial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, we must not lose sight of our core commitments to those who will need extraordinary support to weather this crisis. Millions of low-income Americans, seniors, and people with disabilities will be excluded from direct cash assistance or receive less than people who are relatively better off. This proposal also fails to provide necessary resources for states; on unemployment insurance; on food assistance; on housing; or for student borrowers. Furthermore, language that gives Education Secretary Betsy DeVos extraordinarily broad authority to waive key provisions of federal education laws—and even directs her to evaluate whether Congress should give her the authority to waive core civil rights protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act—is deeply troubling.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell must go back to the drawing board to devise a plan that actually addresses the economic challenges all Americans are facing. Time is of the essence.

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