March 11, 2020

Udall Sends Letter to President Calling for Coronavirus Economic Response That Focuses on Workers & Families

Udall joins 34 Democratic Senators to make clear to the White House that any stimulus should focus on helping working Americans and families most harmed, not boosting corporate bottom lines

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) joined 34 Senate Democrats in a letter to President Trump calling for an economic stimulus package focused on working Americans and their families who will be most harmed by the outbreak and spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus in the United States. Udall’s letter comes after New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that New Mexico now has three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.

“The spread of COVID-19 will create economic ramifications that will affect individuals, families, and regions differently.  While following social distancing guidelines may be important to mitigate the spread of the virus, it creates potentially grave economic challenges for American workers who are not easily able to telework or who do not have access to paid leave.  Further limitations on travel, access to more common general services, and cancellation of major events will potentially hurt a large number of Americans who work or depend upon hospitality, travel, tourism, and retail businesses,” wrote the senators. 

The senators continued, “Thus the goal of any economic stimulus should be directly aimed at the two types of workers who will be most harmed.  First, any proposed relief should directly target workers who may have followed medical guidance to self-quarantine because of potential exposure, or those who are required to care for a family member.  Second, it should also ensure that workers whose employment or income is significantly jeopardized by industries who may experience the economic slowdown as a consequence of the spread of the virus are appropriately protected. Further, any mechanism to provide relief must predominately be done as a pass through to workers. Our focus should not be on boosting company returns; instead, our focus should be on helping workers, including hourly workers and those workers at small or retail businesses who often don’t have access to short term savings or paid time off.”

In addition to Udall, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Il.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jackie Rosen (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

A copy of the letter is available HERE and below.

March 11, 2020

President Donald J. Trump

The White House

Office of the President

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Trump:

We welcome the conversation on the impact of the economic consequences of the recent outbreak and spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus in the United States.  Unfortunately, many of the ideas that have been raised thus far have skewed towards more traditional stimulus measures, such as tax benefits for wealthier individuals and corporations.  However, in light of this unique public health crisis, we believe any economic relief package must be crafted to predominately target economic relief for the most affected American workers and their families.

To date, the current U.S. response – while too slow – has been appropriately focused on access to testing and medical care, including the passage of an emergency supplemental that allocates substantial resources to health professionals and communities who are fighting this virus.  To address any macroeconomic impact, the Federal Reserve recently made a decision to cut interest rates. And to date, some large businesses have assured their workers that they will not be economically penalized for following the appropriate guidance from public health authorities.

However, the spread of COVID-19 will create economic ramifications that will affect individuals, families, and regions differently.  While following social distancing guidelines may be important to mitigate the spread of the virus, it creates potentially grave economic challenges for American workers who are not easily able to telework or who do not have access to paid leave.  Further limitations on travel, access to more common general services, and cancellation of major events will potentially hurt a large number of Americans who work or depend upon hospitality, travel, tourism, and retail businesses. 

Thus the goal of any economic stimulus should be directly aimed at the two types of workers who will be most harmed.  First, any proposed relief should directly target workers who may have followed medical guidance to self-quarantine because of potential exposure, or those who are required to care for a family member.  Second, it should also ensure that workers whose employment or income is significantly jeopardized by industries who may experience the economic slowdown as a consequence of the spread of the virus are appropriately protected. Further, any mechanism to provide relief must predominately be done as a pass through to workers. Our focus should not be on boosting company returns; instead, our focus should be on helping workers, including hourly workers and those workers at small or retail businesses who often don’t have access to short term savings or paid time off.

Again, we welcome the conversation about federal fiscal relief, and look forward to supporting measures that will put the American worker first and truly help ease the burden of this crisis for the many Americans who continue to be impacted.

Sincerely,