Can Senator Bernie Sanders' Paycheck Protection Act Save Millions of Workers from Permanent Damage?
Although Congress has already passed trillions of dollars in response to the Coronavirus — including a 25 billion-dollar grant to airlines to ensure airline workers can continue to receive full paychecks and benefits through September — Democratic senators fear that millions of American workers will suffer unprecedented financial hardship as a result of states being unable to process the large influx of unemployment claims.
This morning, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced in an email to followers that he will be introducing The Paycheck Security Act to ensure that all workers continue to receive their paychecks and benefits during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The bill –– which is being co-sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Doug Jones (D-AL) , Mark Warner (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) –– aims to expand what Congress did for the airline industry and cover all workers affected by COVID-19.
According to Senator Sanders, the Paycheck Security Act will work in the following way:
It will offer grants to affected businesses and non-profit organizations to cover up to $90,000 in pay for each furloughed or laid off employee, plus benefits.
It will also provide support to cover a portion of business operating costs including rent, utilities, insurance policies, and maintenance.
The program will remain active until the economic and public health crisis is resolved.
Companies receiving these grants must commit to not cut the pay and benefits of rank-and-file workers and offer to bring back any workers laid off since February 1st.
A single, centralized program established through the Paycheck Security Act will be the simplest way to prevent tens of millions of people from losing their jobs and their health insurance.
Sanders also said, “Now more than ever, working people should not have to worry about filing for unemployment, finding new health care, or losing their connection to their employer. By keeping their employees on payroll, businesses and organizations can allow them to use this time to upgrade their skills and attend online trainings until they are able to fully return to work. Employees can also coordinate with their team to plan for when they will be ready to re-open.”
Yes, American workers need assistance. Other countries including Germany, France, Norway, Denmark and the U.K. have all successfully adopted similar programs.
But what is the cost of passing this enormous Act?
How much further in debt will our country be in when this is all over?
At this early stage, no one knows the answer. But as a member of Generation Z, the long-term economic impact of this pandemic scares me more than the actual virus as it will be OUR generation who eventually picks up the tab.
Article written by Jett James Pruitt
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