Bernie Sanders introduces Paycheck Security Act to protect millions of employees during coronavirus pandemic

“Without aggressive action to help workers keep their jobs and businesses stay open, we risk an economic disaster that could take decades to repair.”

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Together with Senators Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the Paycheck Security Act to provide financial assistance to millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and continue to lose their income.

More than 39 millions Americans have filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic began with more than 27 million people without employer-provided health insurance coverage. The Paycheck Security Act would prevent mass layoffs along with providing funding to small to mid businesses to stay afloat, Sanders said.

“This unprecedented crisis demands an unprecedented legislative response,” Sanders said. “We cannot continue to allow tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs, income, and health insurance during this horrific pandemic. In order to avoid another Great Depression, Congress must act boldly and aggressively to ensure that every American worker receives their paycheck and health insurance until this crisis is over.  The Paycheck Security Act we are introducing today will provide the urgent financial assistance that working families and small businesses desperately need to pay their bills and make ends meet.”

According to a press release, the Paycheck Security Act would “avert mass layoffs, stem catastrophic unemployment levels, and prevent irreversible business losses, prevent millions from losing their health insurance, and provide resources for firms to rehire laid-off and furloughed workers and restore their health care benefits.”

“The Paycheck Security Act would direct economic relief to American workers who are suffering by helping employers maintain their payroll,” Sen. Jones said. “Our legislation is exactly the type of big, bold approach that we need to take, given the scale of this crisis. If we can provide the resources that businesses need to tide them over until it is safe to re-open, we can keep more folks safe and help keep workers on the payroll and receiving vital benefits like health insurance. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to include this in the next relief package, so that we can continue to help the people in Alabama and throughout our country who need it most.”

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois, Harvard Business School, Harvard University and the University of Chicago. more than 2 percent of all small businesses in the United States have closed their doors for good data from a survey conducted May 9-11 concluded. With even more small and independent businesses likely to be devastated from the pandemic, Sanders said the Paycheck Security Act would “pay for rent, mortgages, utilities and other operating costs until they can reopen safely and sales begin to recover.”

“Instead of allowing businesses to go into free fall and trying to pick up the pieces later, we’re proposing a guardrail at the edge of the precipice,” Blumenthal said. “Our plan gives workers the steady comfort of a consistent paycheck from an employer they can go back to when the crisis abates. And we’re offering business the ability to hold onto those workers, so they can start up again as easily as possible. If we fail to take aggressive relief measures now, we’ll kneecap our future recovery.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) are both onboard with the legislation and said it “builds upon the Paycheck Protection Program and Employee Retention Tax Credit.”

Other countries, like Denmark, Germany and the UK, have avoided mass layoffs, as seen in the United States, with government-funded programs such as the one Sanders and Democratic Senators introduced last week to help employees and employers through such unprecedented times.

“Without aggressive action to help workers keep their jobs and businesses stay open, we risk an economic disaster that could take decades to repair,” Warner said.

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