On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I urge you to oppose the Pandemic is Over Act (H.R. 382), legislation to end the COVID-19 national emergency (H.J.Res. 7) and the SHOW UP Act (H.R. 139). Taken together, these bills will severely disrupt the administration’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 is still claiming the lives of thousands of Americans and straining our healthcare system. In the past week alone, 3,756 people died from COVID-19 and and many of its victims continue to suffer the debilitating effects of long COVID. Frontline health care workers and women will continue to suffer disproportionately.
These bills will also curtail important aspects of the government’s response to COVID-19, eliminating access to testing and treatment and causing millions to abruptly lose Medicaid coverage. Our efforts to slow the spread of infection will be hampered and our health care facilities will be overwhelmed as cases surge, causing even more needless suffering and death.
The SHOW UP Act would end pandemic telework and remote work arrangements for federal employees within 30 days of enactment, despite proof offered by the Office of Personnel Management that flexible work arrangements both enabled the federal government to maintain operations at key agencies and attract and retain qualified workers. Many of these changes were arrived at through collective bargaining and mirror flexible work arrangements adopted by the private sector. The Show Up Act is wildly out of step with lessons learned by both private and public employers and should be rejected in favor of more practical approaches developed in cooperation with federal workers and their unions.
Our nation can simultaneously provide resources to keep Americans healthy while moving our economy to full capacity. We urge you to oppose these bills that prematurely terminate our public health response to COVID-19.
Director, Government Affairs