NWLC Reacts to Senate Coronavirus Stimulus Plan

(Washington, D.C.) In response to a series of the measure introduced in the Senate this week, the National Women’s Law Center provided the following analysis:

Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO:

“As it stands now, Mitch McConnell’s plan will do little more than address a few symptoms of this crisis while ignoring its root causes. It’s clear this response has been watered down by political infighting, partisan gamesmanship, and corporate interests–but it’s working families who will pay the cost for further delays. If Senator McConnell or his colleagues are upset at the scale of the need our country is facing, they should focus on this administration’s tragic failure to manage this pandemic—not shift that burden to women and people of color as this plan would surely do.”

Emily Martin, Vice President of Education and Workplace Justice 

“Mitch McConnell wants to shift the economic and physical risk of a once-in-a-century pandemic from business owners onto the women working as nursing assistants, cashiers, restaurant workers, and in other essential occupations and low-paid jobs. This plan not only doesn’t include enforceable health and safety standards to keep front-line workers safe, it shields employers from being held accountable for their failures to protect working people and the public from COVID and even gives them a free pass to violate anti-discrimination law. Its failure to provide aid to state and local public services will lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, mostly done by women. This will pressure states to continue to reopen prematurely, putting working people and the public at risk of infection—because, without federal assistance, states and localities will desperately need sales tax revenues to balance their budgets. It also forces cash-strapped student loan borrowers to resume repayment on federal student loans, creates a voucher program that would provide federal funds to schools that discriminate based on sex, and punishes K-12 schools that determine it’s unsafe to resume in-person instruction, putting the lives of teachers and children at risk.”

Melissa Boteach, Vice President of Income Security and Child Care

“Mitch McConnell has once again failed to meet the moment. The child care industry needs at least $50 billion in order to ensure providers and workers can stay afloat while keeping themselves and the families they care for safe. Likewise, cutting unemployment benefits – and allowing them to expire – threatens the ability of families to stay fed, housed, and cared for during this crisis. That is not just a matter of values; it’s a matter of math. We cannot resort to half-measures when the very foundation of our economy is at risk of crumbling, and the Senate leadership needs to either match the needs of working families or reckon with its own failure to prevent the collapse of the lives and livelihoods of an entire generation.”

Gretchen Borchelt, Vice President of Reproductive Rights and Health 

“In the middle of a global pandemic that has already killed nearly 150,000 Americans, Mitch McConnell has chosen to put politics ahead of people’s health and lives. His bill denies millions of people access to comprehensive, life-saving health coverage. Women, low wage workers, those most likely to face exposure and people already in poor health, will inevitably be hit the hardest. By refusing to provide new money to states and cities, McConnell’s bill hamstrings efforts to protect communities from the devastating impact of COVID-19 and the economic fallout, leaving Black and brown communities in further peril. Now is the time to expand access to health care, not restrict it, and ensure that cost is never a deterrent to care and treatment. There can be no economic recovery without accessible health care for all.”