Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called for paid sick leave for workers who have been impacted by COVID-19, which has prompted officials to close schools and businesses around the world.
In a joint statement, Pelosi and Schumer provided a list of demands for what should be in an economic package related to the novel coronavirus, including paid sick leave, boosting unemployment insurance, and free testing for COVID-19.
“We are hoping to work with the administration on a coordinated, government-wide plan to respond to the coronavirus,” the two Democratic leaders said in the statement. “However, President Trump continues to manufacture needless chaos within his administration, and it is hampering the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.”
The two added that they’re referring to reports about a possible tax package and “are demanding that the administration prioritize the health and safety of American workers and their families over corporate interests.”
At the same time, Pelosi and Schumer are seeking help for working parents who have to care for sick children impacted by coronavirus-related school closures, expanded food stamps and other benefits for families, “widespread” COVID-19 testing, protections against price-gouging, and more medical capacity across the United States.
“The administration must move more quickly and seriously to address the severe impacts of the coronavirus on the financial security of America’s families,” they said.
As of March 9, the coronavirus has infected tens of thousands in more than 100 countries, with the bulk of cases occurring in mainland China, where the virus emerged last year. In the United States, more than 600 COVID-19 cases have been reported, according to data from the Johns Hopkins website.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told The Washington Post last week that the Trump administration is looking into “timely” and “targeted” interventions to help U.S. workers, industries, and businesses deal with the outbreak.
Kudlow cautioned: “The story I am trying to tell is a story of timely and targeted microforms of assistance, not gargantuan, across-the-board, throw money at the problem, which has not worked in the past. Because we think that we will get out of this in months,” according to the Hill.
President Donald Trump has also suggested making a payroll tax cut and called on Congress to pass a bill for a “middle income” tax cut.
“If the Democrats would approve it, I would go along with it,” he told reporters last week.