WASHINGTON – SPLC Action Fund Interim President and CEO Karen Baynes-Dunning issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the CARES Act, a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill Friday to address the global COVID-19 pandemic:
“While passing the largest stimulus package in American history is necessary to address the ripple effects of the pandemic, this bill does not go far enough to safeguard those – including communities of color, immigrants and low-income people – from the health and economic impacts of the virus. More work must be done to ensure everyone will be able to weather this crisis.”
The SPLC Action Fund urges Congress to take the following actions:
• Ensure immigrants – many of whom are serving on the front lines of this pandemic by stocking groceries, processing our food, cleaning our hospitals and providing care for our most vulnerable – are able to receive cash benefits and free testing and treatment for COVID-19.
• Protect incarcerated people from the risk of infection. This includes releasing people who are being held solely because they can’t pay bond, using compassionate release liberally and ensuring everyone has access to hand-washing and other sanitary supplies, and adequate health care.
• Ensure that the many people who work as independent contractors, gig workers and freelancers, are able to access unemployment insurance and other protections.
• Ensure that paid sick day protections are extended to all working people so that no one is forced to go to work when they are ill or need to care for an ill family member.
• Ensure states have sufficient financial resources to provide students access to school meals, distance-learning resources, and health and mental health services.
• Provide significantly more funding to states for electoral assistance and ensure vote-by-mail and early voting options for Americans everywhere.