On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I urge you to support the revised HEROES Act when it comes before the House. Since the House passed the original HEROES Act in May, over 115,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus and millions have suffered economic hardship.
Shamefully, the White House and Senate Republicans sat on their hands as the crisis continued to worsen, but now you have the opportunity to take decisive action that will bring at least some relief to those who have suffered the most.
The updated legislation introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a promising, goodfaith effort to push negotiations on long-overdue COVID-19 relief forward. It is geared toward helping the people for whom help is long overdue: front-line workers, the unemployed, the uninsured, retirees and all those who rely on critical public services like schools, fire and emergency medical services, sanitation, and child care.
It includes many of the essential elements of the original HEROES Act, including a strong federal workplace infectious disease standard and critical multiemployer pension relief, as well as new funding to keep aviation workers on the job, all at a price tag designed to bring Senate Republicans and the White House back to the table.
As the bill proceeds to the Senate, the labor movement will strongly advocate for the addition of COBRA health insurance subsidies. In addition, as we said in May, since there is no consensus among our affiliate unions about the GROW Act, we would suggest that there be further review and debate on this provision as the revised HEROES Act moves toward enactment.
With the coronavirus surging across the country, it is time for President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and their allies to stop playing politics with our lives and livelihoods. Working people will not rest until a resolution is achieved, and we will never forget who stood with us--and who abandoned us--in our time of need.
Director, Government Affairs