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Letter to President Donald Trump - Senate Democrats Call for Coronavirus Economic Response Focused on Helping Workers and Families Most Harmed

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.

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