[SEATTLE, WA] – Following the release of the latest national unemployment data, U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today announced additional support for the Paycheck Guarantee Act – her proposal that builds on the CARES Act to end mass layoffs, keep workers in their jobs and connected to their health care and other benefits, and prevent employers of all sizes from being forced to close permanently. The proposal is now supported by the AFL-CIO, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), Nobel laureate and world-renowned economist Joseph Stiglitz, former Federal Reserve Vice Chair Alan Blinder, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.
“More than 22 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last month. Congress must act immediately to prevent mass unemployment by passing solutions that meet the scale of this crisis. That’s why my proposal for a federal paycheck guarantee program for businesses and nonprofits of all sizes has quickly gained traction from a diverse coalition of economists, unions, and businesses,” said Jayapal. “Our current relief systems are failing to deliver the kind of expansive and immediate relief American workers and businesses need in a streamlined and quick way. The Paycheck Guarantee Act takes the best of the bipartisan elements of the PPP program and other CARES Act provisions, while fixing the enormous gaps we have seen in the delivery systems. Mass unemployment is a policy choice—and Congress must choose differently to stop the suffering.”
“We are headed toward catastrophic levels of unemployment – 20 percent or higher – and we must act to ensure that millions more workers are paid for as long as this crisis endures by making support for employers who keep workers on payroll simpler, faster and more universal. The Paycheck Guarantee Act does just that,” said Richard Trumka, president of AFL-CIO.
“COVID-19 is wreaking economic havoc and causing massive layoffs that imperil our economy and any efforts to get America working again. We need aggressive action that keeps people on payroll, preserves their healthcare, and creates the flexibility for businesses to stay afloat even as they remain partially shut down or totally closed,” said Stiglitz. “Helping businesses to keep paying their workers, as Rep. Jayapal’s Paycheck Guarantee Act does, is the most efficient way to stop millions of Americans from being laid off, protect access to health care at a time when it is especially needed, and keep businesses of all sizes from permanently shuttering. It is the smartest way to stop our economic free fall and stave off an even longer recession,” said Joseph Stiglitz, professor at Columbia Business School and a former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Stiglitz is also a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
“On behalf of more than 600,000 active and retired members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), I strongly urge you to cosponsor the Paycheck Guarantee Act of 2020, proposed by Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). In this time of public health and economic crisis, this urgently needed legislation will help ensure that America’s workforce and businesses remain intact, so the U.S. economy is ready to quickly and efficiently restart when the COVID19 pandemic comes to an end. The legislation would end the current wave of mass layoffs, bring previously displaced workers back onto their employers’ payroll, prevent employers from being forced to permanently close their doors, and keep workers connected to their employer-sponsored health insurance,” wrote Robert Martinez, Jr., international president of IAM, in a letter to lawmakers. “It will get money into the hands of workers quickly and efficiently by using employers’ existing payroll systems, and by keeping workers attached to their jobs, the legislation will serve to speed up our economic recovery as a nation and ultimately reduce the overall cost of this extraordinary crisis.”
“Over the last month, at least 22 million Americans have lost their jobs. They need help immediately. The Paycheck Guarantee Act is the fastest and most efficient way of getting it to them,” said Robert Reich, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor.
“Perilous times call for creative solutions. The payroll guarantee idea is a big policy intervention that solves several problems at once—a vast improvement over the Payroll Protection Program,” said Alan S. Blinder, professor of economic and public affairs at Princeton University and a former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
In the last week, the bill has also picked up the support of several lawmakers. The Paycheck Guarantee Act is co-sponsored in the House by U.S. Representatives (new co-sponsors in bold): Mark Pocan, Earl Blumenauer, Brendan Boyle, Katherine Clark, Rosa DeLauro, Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Sheila Jackson Lee, Joe Kennedy, Barbara Lee, Andy Levin, John B. Larson, Grace F. Napolitano, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ilhan Omar, Chellie Pingree, Katie Porter, Bobby L. Rush, Adam Schiff, and Bonnie Watson Coleman.
In addition to AFL-CIO and IAM, the bill is also endorsed by: American Federation of Teachers; Americans for Financial Reform; Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO; Center for American Progress; Center for Economic Policy Research; Center for Popular Democracy / CPD Action; Climate Justice Alliance; Color of Change; Community Change Action; Economic Policy Institute; Indivisible; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; Main Street Alliance; MoveOn; National Domestic Workers Alliance; National Education Association; People’s Action; SEIU; Strong Economy for All Coalition; UNITE HERE; ACCE; Arkansas Community Organizations; Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC); CASA in Action; Communities United; Flint Rising; Make the Road Pennsylvania; New Georgia Project Action Fund; One Pennsylvania; Rights and Democracy
More than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the last month, a number that is expected to grow rapidly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Jayapal’s Paycheck Guarantee Act creates a streamlined program to provide a three-month federal guarantee for 100 percent of worker salaries of up to $100,000 to ensure employers of all sizes keep workers on the payroll and continue to provide employer-sponsored benefits. This paycheck guarantee would automatically renew on a monthly basis until consumer demand rebounds to pre-crisis levels. The bill also includes strong worker protections and fraud prevention measures.
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Issues: Jobs, Labor, & the Economy