(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) today joined Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Mark Pocan (D-WI) in releasing a set of five principles to guide future coronavirus relief and stimulus packages to protect workers and communities. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) are leading a similar effort in the Senate.
In a letter to House Leadership, the lawmakers recognized that choices being made during this response will shape society and policy making for years, if not decades, to come and without consideration policymakers risk exacerbating interrelated crises of income and wealth inequality, racism, and ecological decline.
The five principles outlined by the lawmakers are:
- Health is a top priority, for all people, with no exceptions,
- Provide economic relief directly to the people,
- Rescue workers and communities, not corporate executives,
- Make a down payment on a regenerative economy, while preventing future crises, and
- Protect our democratic process while protecting each other.
You can read more on the five principles outlined by the lawmakers here.
“Coronavirus is affecting everyone, it does not discriminate, however it does put a magnifying glass on inequalities and cracks in the system,” said Dingell. “The guiding principles for all future COVID-19 response and relief packages must be the need to save lives and secure the health and economic security for every American.”
"In the middle of an unprecedented public health and economic crisis, we must not let up on our efforts to deliver swift economic relief and public health protections to every American — ensuring we do not leave out the most vulnerable who have put their lives and livelihoods at risk,” Rep. Jayapal said. “Any future COVID-19 response efforts must simultaneously work to immediately develop solutions to help prevent layoffs, protect paychecks and deliver quick relief to people and businesses to weather the crisis — and prepare our public health system to actively engage in preparing the public health protocols. And we must do this all while protecting our democracy and voting rights.”
“During these challenging times, we must continue to protect the health and security of workers and communities impacted by the pandemic, not wealthy corporation and the 1%,” said Rep. Barbara Lee. “Not only do we need to consider what’s happening now, but the ecological, societal, and economic changes for years to come. We are already starting to see the effects of systemic racism in the health disparities communities of color are facing from COVID – and that’s just the beginning. As we continue to address the challenges facing our districts and the nation, we need to adequately respond to immediate needs and chart a path to a healthier and more equitable future through a just recovery. Using the Five Principles outlined in this letter is key to those efforts. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we navigate this crisis.”
“This pandemic has exposed the deep inequality that already exists in our country—from healthcare and jobs to environmental degradation and voting rights,” said Pocan. “We cannot resolve the far-reaching effects of this pandemic with a band-aid solution. We need bold, sweeping support that we can ensure reaches every person in this country. Our nation may be unequal, but right now we have an opportunity to put workers over corporations, guarantee everyone has access to necessary healthcare services, ensure everyone has the ability to vote safely, and create a recovery infrastructure that helps—not hurts—our planet."
In addition to Dingell, Jayapal, Ocasio-Cortez, Lee, and Pocan; the letter was signed by Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Veronica Escobar (D-TZ), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA), Darren Soto (D-FL), Diana DeGette (D-CO), William R. Keating (D-MA), Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Andy Levin (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Peter Welch (D-VT), Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA), Katie Porter (D-CA), Brenda L. Lawrence (D-MI), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), André Carson (D-IN), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), John B. Larson (D-CT), Adam Smith (D-WA), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-CNMI), Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (D-NC), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Karen Bass (D-CA), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Juan Vargas (D-CA), and Judy Chu (D-CA).
Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) are leading a similar effort in the Senate. Cosigning the principles are Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).
Over 900 organizations have endorsed these 5 principles, including union, health, business, environmental and climate justice, social and economic justice, Indigenous, youth, women's rights, faith, and immigrants' rights organizations. Endorsing organizations include: American Sustainable Business Council, BlueGreen Alliance, Center for Popular Democracy, Climate Justice Alliance, Communications Workers of America, Fight for $15, Health Care for America Now, Indigenous Environmental Network, Interfaith Power and Light, Jobs to Move America, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, People’s Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Service Employees International Union, Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, and United We Dream. See here for the full list of endorsing organizations.
“Any future relief packages must put working people before corporations and protect all workers,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “Coronavirus did not create economic instability for millions of American families; it revealed what already existed. Now we have a chance to address structural inequality by ensuring everyone has paid sick days and access to affordable healthcare, and keeping immigrant families safe and welcomed in America.”
“Today, we learned that at least 10% of people in this country are unemployed. These numbers don't even reflect the scope of this worsening economic and public health emergency. We need direct relief to people, not corporations,” said Lauren Maunus, Sunrise’s Legislative Manager. “We’re proud to join over 900 progressive groups and nearly 100 Congressional Democrats in demanding a People’s Bailout that puts public health, economic security for working people, and a sustainable climate front and center.”
Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director: "Washington must take immediate bold action to protect our communities and rebuild a more resilient, more equitable, and more sustainable society. As we continue to grapple with the challenges COVID-19 poses, the Sierra Club is proud to rise with our allies to demand a just recovery."
“House and Senate Republicans are using this crisis to jam through massive giveaways to corporations instead of saving the people and communities hurt most by Trump’s failure to act,” People’s Action’s Climate Justice Campaign Director Kaniela Ing said. “Our people were already struggling, and we refuse to die just to save Wall Street. Lawmakers must respond to this pandemic in a way that yanks us back from the abyss and actually prevents future catastrophes.”
“Frontline communities have been here before and we know how corporations and special interest groups use people’s suffering for profit,” said Climate Justice Alliance Executive Director Angela Mahecha Adrar. “This is why we need a Just Transition away from extractive and polluting economies to economies that are governed and designed by local communities, and aim to protect workers while ensuring safe and sustainable energy.”