FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday April 23
For more info: Sam Pfeifle 207-749-0298 firstname.lastname@example.org @SamPfeifle
Today, Lisa Savage, independent Green candidate for the U.S. Senate, called on the House of Representatives to reject the so-called Covid 3.5 stimulus package and to work with the Senate to craft a people-focused stimulus that will put money directly into people’s pockets and cut out profiteering corporate middlemen. The record 26 million Americans -- including more than 1 out of every 10 Maine workers -- who have filed for unemployment underscores the urgency.
“It is now clear that the Covid-19 pandemic is the most devastating natural disaster to hit U.S. soil in more than a century,” Savage said. “While the tragedy’s root causes deserve considerable scrutiny, we must first ensure the people here in the United States are financially secure, safe from eviction, can feed themselves and their families, and won’t be bankrupted by health care bills if they get sick.”
Savage called on Democrats and Republicans alike to address a series of issues with the currently proposed legislation:
- There must be assurance that Paycheck Protection Program funds actually go to small businesses, instead of law firms, national chains, and publicly traded companies.
- There must be further direct payments to individual people; $2,000 per month at minimum.
- The immigration status of individuals or their partners must not affect these payments.
- Payments must not be subject to liens and garnishments.
- There must be a national rent and mortgage relief fund.
- There must be increased funding for food insecurity programs.
- There must be increased accountability for any funds provided to corporations, including proof of worker retention, mandatory reduction in management salaries, a ban on stock buybacks, management bonuses, political contributions, and provision of safe working environments.
Pew Research shows the poor, the young, and minority populations are disproportionately affected by this pandemic. They are more likely to lose work and have reduced pay. They are less likely to have savings to keep them afloat. They are more likely to be working in jobs that require risky interactions with the public, often without adequate protections.
“It is wholly unacceptable that the young, the poor, and people of color have to bear the brunt of this financial crisis,” said Savage. “Our relief package must be targeted at these people who are most affected, and have the most financial insecurity, as much as possible.”
In addition to fixing Covid 3.5 so it bails out people and not corporations, the Senate and House must work together for future legislation that will ensure an appropriate federal response to this pandemic in various other areas:
- The minimum age for accessing Medicare must be dropped to 0.
- There must be a plan in place, with requisite funds, to ensure election integrity and the ability to vote remotely.
- The U.S. Postal Service must be funded for continuous operation.
- We must have continued funding for states so they can continue to pay employees and fund pandemic response at the local level.
- We must have a test and trace program in place that creates clear benchmarks for understanding the scope of the pandemic in something close to real time and allows for a safe and scientific “reopening” of the U.S. economy.
Savage’s full plan for Covid-19 response can be found here.
“Our country is at a crossroads like we haven’t seen in generations,” said Savage. “We will either rise to the challenge and protect our most vulnerable, or we will witness a truly horrifying humanitarian disaster, laid at the feet of our current representatives.”
Find information about Lisa Savage, her policy positions, background, and how to support her people-powered campaign at www.LisaforMaine.org.