Cicilline, Leading New England Dems Call for Relief for Frontline Workers in Next Coronavirus Bill

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

PAWTUCKET – Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) Chair David N. Cicilline (RI-01) hosted a press call highlighting the ways that Democrats are fighting to provide much-needed help to frontline workers in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill. Cicilline was joined on today’s call by Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark (MA-05), Steering and Policy Committee Co-Chair Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), and U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III (MA-04).


“Last week, Republicans blocked funding for the heroes on the frontlines of this fight by refusing to provide more money to cities and states,” the Representatives said in a joint statement. “That cannot happen again. Health care workers, first responders, and teachers need to know we have their backs. It’s time for Republicans to set aside partisan politics. This next emergency relief bill needs to include resources that honor the service of frontline workers and keep them on the job at this critical time.”


House Democrats are fighting for critical aid that state and local governments need to pay healthcare workers, police, firefighters, teachers, and other frontline public service workers during the crisis. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – who blocked similar aid in the most recent relief bill – has said he believes states should be forced to file bankruptcy, putting the livelihoods of frontline public service workers at risk. 


This need not happen. It is critical that the heroes on the frontlines of this fight are not only recognized for their work, but also rewarded with good wages that keep them on the job.


That’s why House Democrats are fighting to provide bold, forward-looking, and truly transformational relief for all Americans who are weathering this crisis. Democrats recognize that the key to getting Americans back to work, and ensuring economic security, is putting the health and safety of the American people first. The next coronavirus relief package needs to include desperately needed resources for our hospitals, community health centers, health systems, and health workers on the frontlines of this crisis. America will not succeed in defeating this virus unless we provide stronger support for state and local governments. 


More than 1 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, nearly 60,000 have died, and more than 26 million unemployment claims have been filed in just five weeks. Last week, Congressional Democrats secured an agreement on an interim emergency funding package that provides emergency resources that are desperately needed to sustain the life and death fight to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people.


Democrats flipped this emergency package from an insufficient Republican plan that left behind hospitals and health workers and did nothing to aid the survival of the most vulnerable small businesses on Main Street.


As a result of Democrats holding the line, the bill passed last week included:


  • $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program with dedicated funding set aside for small, local businesses that don’t have cozy relationships with big banks.   
  • $50 billion for SBA disaster lending and grants.
  • $75 billion to provide Personal Protective Equipment and other resources for hospitals and health care workers.
  • $25 billion for testing. And a commitment from the administration to implement a national testing strategy.



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