Nate McMurray, Democrat running in the special election to fill the Congressional vacancy in NY-27, is urging national leaders to add critical provisions to relief legislation that will protect working families and individuals hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. McMurray highlighted significant inadequacies in Congress’ second COVID relief package that President Trump signed last week.
“We are facing an unprecedented crisis and the future is uncertain,” McMurray said. “Now is not the time for the same tepid responses that have failed before, we must be bold and offer real solutions. Across this nation, as American families are facing the challenges of social distancing, many of them are now also being hit with the disastrous economic effects of COVID-19 business closures and shutdowns.
“The burden of this crisis is disproportionately hitting low-wage workers, while meanwhile in this legislation, the most elite and powerful are protected from almost any discomfort.”
McMurray’s immediate suggestions for a strong response to the COVID-19 crisis:
1. Provide rapid, direct support to American households. Legislation should include substantial measures to stop the outflow of cash from families and extend mortgage and rent debt relief. Additional legislation is also needed to pass immediate student loan debt, indefinitely. American families must focus their spending and saving for basic commodities to maintain their health at this time. Additionally, each American should be provided an inflow of cash in a direct and immediate cash payment of at least $1000, similar to a universal basic income, to reduce the hardship and blunt the oncoming recession.
2. Extend medical benefits. Now is the time to cover all 20 million uninsured Americans. As the virus spreads rapidly across our country, no one should be without care. Additionally, we must ensure that protections are in place for all Americans that want a free test for COVID-19, regardless of their immigration status. This is essential to avoid further spread.
3. Protect and expand rural hospitals. Expand funding for these critical care centers and enact debt forgiveness now for medical professionals and doctors that work in these clinics and hospitals.
4. Offer targeted loans to both small and large businesses. Loans offered will cover extended sick leave and sick pay for employees across the board, regardless of the size of the business. Protections will be put in place for workers that guarantee employers will not slash pensions or other benefits while a worker is on sick leave.
“The question isn’t how do we pay for this? We already are paying for it,” McMurray said. ” For years, we have been told a trickle-down economy and forced tax cuts for the wealthiest will benefit the common good, yet these decisions have threatened our social security system and created significant social and economic barriers individually and as a nation.
“Once again, as a result to this crisis, the GOP is attempting to float income tax cuts and further business cuts that will only benefit the rich. This type of shortsighted and small-minded thinking will not help our families overcome this crisis. The COVID-19 virus has reminded us that it is the American family that is the soul of our economy, and it needs protecting more than ever.
“Just as FDR outlined in his Second Bill of Rights, all Americans must be guaranteed the right of economic security and independence, including medical care, adequate food, and protection from the fears of sickness and unemployment. When I am your representative in Washington, I will fight for these protections, for our country and our future.”