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Indivisible Asks Members of Congress: Pledge To Oppose COVID 4 Unless It (Finally) Focuses On People

04/23/2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 23, 2020

Contact: Emily Phelps | press@indivisible.org

 

Washington, DC — On Wednesday night, Indivisible and a host of major progressive organizations sent a letter to the offices of congressional Democrats, calling on individual offices to pledge that they will vote no on the next COVID package unless it prioritizes the People's Agenda principles.  

From the letter:

“We call on all progressive House members to make clear now that you will oppose any bill in the next round that does not put the majority of focus on the People’s agenda that Americans desperately need and expect from our elected leaders.

To achieve this, we believe it's critical that the House go first and pass a Democratic bill early in the next round to set the terms of debate, maximize leverage, and honor all the voters who turned out in 2018 to elect a Democratic House.”

Indivisible has opposed the current package before the House, known as COVID 3.5. This letter encourages Members of Congress to take this pledge on the contents of COVID 4, regardless of how they ultimately vote on 3.5.

Full text of the letter can be found below. 

# # # 

 

ABOUT THE INDIVISIBLE PROJECT

The Indivisible Project is a registered 501(c)(4) nonprofit. Our mission is to cultivate and lift up a grassroots movement of local groups to defeat the Trump agenda, elect progressive leaders, and realize bold progressive policies. Across the nation, thousands of local groups are using the Indivisible Guide to hold their members of Congress accountable. 

 

April 22, 2020

 

Dear House Democrats,

We know you are working hard, want the best for your constituents, and are operating in an environment with asymmetric information. We know that this bill has been negotiated behind closed doors. And, like the last round of coronavirus relief, you likely are torn when thinking about your public stance on the bill before you.

This bill is more of a win for Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump than the American people. Once again, those who need help the most, including communities of color and immigrants who have been hit very hard by this crisis, are told to wait and Democrats are unnecessarily giving away leverage that people depend on you to use in order to save lives. Below is our rationale, but first a request regardless of how you vote.

We call on all progressive House members to make clear now that you will oppose any bill in the next round that does not put the majority of focus on the People’s agenda that Americans desperately need and expect from our elected leaders.

To achieve this, we believe it's critical that the House go first and pass a Democratic bill early in the next round to set the terms of debate, maximize leverage, and honor all the voters who turned out in 2018 to elect a Democratic House.

This country is facing an unprecedented crisis. Our communities need Congress — and the Democrats who control the House — to fight for the People’s Agenda. Put simply, it calls to:

1. Keep people on payrolls: Stop mass layoffs and preserve employment relationships for all businesses, including small businesses. Ensure federal dollars go to workers and small businesses, not enriching CEOs and Wall Street.

2. Provide financial relief: Expand aid for the most vulnerable, including direct cash assistance, increased food aid, debt relief, and eviction protections.

3. Protect public health: Full health coverage for all COVID-19 care and protections for all frontline workers.

4. Defend elections: Enact a vote-by-mail requirement for 2020 federal elections while maintaining access to in-person voting for those who do not have access to mail voting.

Democrats must ensure the next package provides relief to every person in this country, regardless of tax or immigration status, age or disability.

We absolutely want to support small businesses to make sure they can weather this disaster and keep their workers paid. But the small business loan program under Donald Trump and Steve Mnuchin is sending millions to Ruth’s Chris Steak House while providing too little for many real small businesses around the country. And if we don't provide support for families -- and for local governments who will soon begin furloughing workers -- the small businesses that have managed to stay open will continue to shed customers. 

Here’s what we see when we review this bill:

No money to secure our elections

No protections or support for front line workers

No inclusion of immigrants

No sufficient measures to address racial disparities

No additional economic support for workers and families

No additional money for states and local governments

No money for the USPS

Nothing to make sure companies maintain payroll

No cancellation of rent or mortgage payments

No student debt relief or expansion of Social Security benefits during this crisis

No new strings attached to money given to big corporations

Just as importantly as the inadequate policy provisions, this bill gives away Democratic leverage. What Republicans want most is more money for their corporate donors, which means now Democrats have less leverage for a future package. Mitch McConnell has already said he doesn't want to push through another bill, and if he does, it won't be for weeks.

We fought so hard to win back the House in 2018 — to make sure that we had a voice in negotiations like this. So far we've not seen the House enough of a collective push-back on negotiations for the agenda we really need. 

The Senate has had its say on this round and it’s a bad deal for American communities. The people’s House should now use its power to make it better rather than rubber stamping Trump and McConnell’s failed agenda.

We need better covid relief that prioritizes everyone. Regardless of how you vote on this bill, we call on you to make clear now that you call on the House to pass a Democratic bill and that you will vote no on COVID 4 if it doesn't center on a People’s Agenda.

 

Thank you.

 

Indivisible

Social Security Works

United We Dream

Ultraviolet

Friends of the Earth

Women’s March

Demand Progress

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Center for Popular Democracy

Mijente

Demos

Color Of Change

Black to the Future Action Fund

People’s Action

Working Families Party

Democracy for America

Progressive Change Campaign Committee

NextGen America

Community Change Action

Justice Democrats

NextGen America

Jobs With Justice