FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2020
Congress Must Impose Conditions on Bailouts to Protect Workers
A group of 46 organizations wrote Congress calling for conditions in the next round of pandemic relief legislation. The full letter can be found here. An excerpt is below:
We write on behalf of the undersigned organizations to urge you to include conditions in the next COVID-19 response legislation that require all organizations that receive federal financial support to retain workers, preserve workers’ rights, and institute policies and procedures to protect workers from exposure to the virus. These conditions must ensure that government money does not enrich corporate insiders and Wall Street speculators, while exacerbating inequality and leaving human suffering unaddressed. Setting clear parameters will better position those tasked with overseeing the distribution of Federal financial assistance to focus their work on ensuring the money is used to fulfill Congressional intent and to limit waste, fraud and abuse.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law on March 27, provided $2 trillion in government spending to mitigate the economic fallout of the pandemic. The Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve received $450 billion under the CARES Act to capitalize lending facilities that will support up to $5 trillion in loans to American businesses and government entities. According to the Department of Treasury, “[t]he CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses, and preserve jobs for our American industries.”
Despite the fact that job preservation is a critical goal of the CARES Act, the Act does not require the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to ensure that the money they distribute will be used to support jobs. Allowing this gap to persist threatens to undermine the central purposes of the Act, and to increase the economic peril facing families, communities, and our nation as a whole. More than 20 million American workers lost their jobs in April alone , and the numbers have only continued to grow.