Why Dems Rejected Bailout Plan
Trump's plan gave funds to rich not working people
With the economy in a freefall, the coronavirus closing businesses and with no end in sight Congress is considering trillions of dollars in bailouts and economic stimulus. However, on Sunday, the Senate Republicans' $1.6 Trillion stimulus plan was voted down over Republicans insistence on favoring companies over workers.
The main roadblock between what Democrats want and what Republicans want surrounds the rules for corporate bailouts and funding for workers who are affected by the economic downturn. In a tweet from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, he said the bailouts lack worker protections, have no accountability, and shortchange healthcare workers.
We voted no on the McConnell-GOP bill because among other problems it includes huge bailouts without protections for people and workers and without accountability, and because it shortchanges our hospitals and healthcare workers who need our help.
These changes need to be made.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 22, 2020
The massive spending package was supposed to offer help to the hundreds of thousands of workers who lost their jobs in the past two weeks, including workers who might be left out of the traditional unemployment system, like independent contractors. While it partially does that, Democrats believe that it doesn’t go far enough. They cite the fact that it only provides for three months of unemployment (13 weeks). Many think that mandatory quarantines will continue for many more weeks and businesses like bars and restaurants will be unable to reopen for months. Of course, not everyone will be hired back when they reopen, leaving lots of people still looking for jobs.
Democrats are also concerned that language limiting corporations from using the money to make their CEO’s and stockholders richer are weak and could easily be waived. A concern that many have is the proposal spends billions to bail out companies that have reported billions in profits, only to use them to buy back stock allowing their shareholders to see massive gains, but leaving the company in a position where they have little cash on hand.
While Congress fights over a plan, workers are struggling to plan for the coming weeks of uncertainty. “We can’t make it out of this crisis alive,” said Luerica Fiffee, a customer service rep at JFK Airport, laid off last week. “We need people to take us seriously because tens of thousands of workers are going to be in serious debt.”
The airline industry, which is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus, is asking for $60 Billion of the $1.5 Trillion bailouts. With major airlines parking, more than 50% of their fleets, giants like Delta and United are begging for a bailout. Yet the Flight Attendants union, AFA-CWA, is urging a no vote on the bill until there are better protections for workers.
"The no-strings-attached corporate windfall proposed by the Senate is worse than the Bank Bailout of 2008. The proposal allows CEOs to lay off millions of workers while stuffing their pockets with taxpayers' dollars. We are the taxpayers and the relief needs to be structured from the ground up. As currently drafted, the Senate Republican proposal fails American workers and taxpayers. Relief is needed urgently, but it’s worth taking the time to get this right for working people. Any relief must come with a guarantee to keep workers on the payroll, a ban on stock buybacks and executive bonuses, and strong Congressional oversight to keep companies in line. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO urges a 'no' vote on this corporate bailout."
The union says that the Republican plan will mean massive job losses and the loss of healthcare coverage for thousands just as the pandemic is peaking in the United States.
After failing to garner enough votes on Sunday and again on Monday, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell will be forced to make a decision, either wait on a bailout until the economy gets even worse or work with the Democrats to put workers economic interests ahead of CEOs.