March 12, 2020

Following Trump Address, Whitehouse Calls on President to Unlock Emergency Coronavirus Aid, Provide Robust Economic Stimulus for Workers

Washington, D.C. – Following an address to the nation by President Donald Trump, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse tonight called on the President to issue an emergency declaration for the coronavirus pandemic and support an economic stimulus package that would help the workers whose livelihoods are most immediately at risk.

“A lot of time was wasted through incompetence, and it matters now that we focus on adequate preparation, testing, and response to protect Americans, not on odd travel bans.  One wonders where the President is getting these ideas,” said Whitehouse.  “The federal response must include a national disaster declaration to immediately deploy more resources to our frontline medical and public health professionals in Rhode Island.  The federal delegation has offered Governor Raimondo our full support in addressing this crisis.”

A presidential disaster declaration would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make more than $42 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund available to support preparations by local and state governments.

While President Trump again tonight called for a payroll tax cut that would largely benefit higher-wage salaried workers, Whitehouse is demanding a broad stimulus package that would actually support the low-wage workers who will be most affected by the immediate economic fallout from the coronavirus.

“The service and tourism businesses that underpin Rhode Island’s economy are especially vulnerable right now,” said Whitehouse.  “In order to prevent this pandemic from becoming a broader humanitarian and economic crisis, any economic stimulus package must prioritize the people who can’t simply work from home and continue paying their bills.  Paid sick days, housing and food assistance, disaster relief for small businesses, and emergency unemployment benefits must be made available, and quickly.”

Senate Democrats’ economic stimulus proposal unveiled today is available here.



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