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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/22/20

Elizabeth Warren: To Fight the Pandemic, Here's My Must-Do List

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From NY Times

The Senate needs to act now. There is no time to waste.

Not Wearing Face Masks in Public Should Be Considered Antisocial.
Not Wearing Face Masks in Public Should Be Considered Antisocial.
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Americans stayed at home and sacrificed for months to flatten the curve and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. That gave us time to take the steps needed to address the pandemic but President Trump squandered it, refusing to issue national stay-at-home guidelines, failing to set up a national testing operation and fumbling production of personal protective equipment. Now, Congress must again act as this continues to spiral out of control.

Those who frame the debate as one of health versus economics are missing the point. It is not possible to fix the economy without first containing the virus. We need a bold, ambitious legislative response that does four things: brings the virus under control; gets our schools, child care centers, businesses, and state and local governments the resources they need; addresses the burdens on communities of color; and supports struggling families who don't know when the next paycheck will come.

Here's what the next federal response must include:

Start with funding the robust public health measures we know will work to address this crisis: ramped-up testing, a national contact-tracing program and supply-chain investments to resolve medical supply shortages. Without these measures, we will not be able to adequately reopen safely, more people will die and there will be no economic recovery.

Our schools face enormous challenges, like figuring out whether and how to safely reopen, how to help students who fell further behind because of distance learning disproportionately students of color. The next legislative package should include at least $500 billion to stabilize state and local governments and at least $175 billion for our public schools to help them reopen safely, avoid teacher layoffs and provide the mental health and other services our children require.

No one can reopen schools by just snapping fingers. No matter what Betsy DeVos says.

Rather than bullying businesses into reopening, then shielding them from liability when people inevitably get sick and die, let's instead make sure they have the resources necessary to put the health and security of their workers first, and enforceable safety standards set by OSHA. The Essential Workers Bill of Rights, which I proposed with Representative Ro Khanna, would include federal money for hazard pay, sick leave, family and medical leave, and enforceable health and safety protections for all essential workers.

The structural racism that has long existed in this country has caused the pandemic to hit Black and Latino neighborhoods and Indian Country especially hard. The next relief package must include Senate Democrats' proposal for at least $350 billion immediately invested in these communities.

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Elizabeth Warren was assistant to the president and a special adviser to the Treasury secretary on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She single-handedly set us this bureau, putting in place the building blocks for an agency that will (more...)

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