A Bold, Inclusive, and Caring agenda

April 2020

The COVID-19 public health crisis has made it impossible to ignore the deep, structural flaws in the rules that govern our economy. Even as the pandemic has made our interdependence more apparent, we are forced to confront the stark differences in our abilities to weather the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. Although all of us participate in the creation of wealth in our society, a wealthy few capture most of these riches. The rest of us live one illness, one recession, or one piece of bad luck from economic ruin.

The dual public health and economic crisis is hitting low-income people the hardest but most particularly people of color.

Structural racism and inequality in U.S. society has positioned Black, brown, and immigrant Americans to be more exposed to the virus and more susceptible to its complications because of the persistent health inequities that take years off the life expectancies of Black and brown people in America.​The unfolding economic disaster for families of color is evident and particularly severe. Before this crisis, almost 60 percent of Black households, and 50 percent of Latinx households, will not be able to afford to pay all their bills after a $400 emergency expense.

This pattern is not new. It repeats over and over again because of our failure to confront deep racial inequities in our society. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can and must choose a different path for this country. As Congress moves to address the COVID- 19 emergency, we demand they do so with bold and inclusive policies that not only care for the millions of families losing their loved ones and livelihoods today, but also build new systems that make sure we do not continue to travel this painful road.

The next phase of federal action must go further.

It must include everyone–no exceptions–and take bolder steps that meet the scale this historic economic emergency demands. If we answer the demands of this moment, we will permanently shift our economic framework to provide security and care for all Americans.

This will require us to center our shared fate and stand up for each other so that nobody–from frontline healthcare workers to grocery clerks to farmworkers– is expendable. Congress must make a down payment on rebuilding our economy, and Community Change Action demands a bold, inclusive, and caring economy built from the ground up.

Our Care Agenda delivers what people need right now.

We demand that no one have to struggle or put themselves at risk as they care for the sick, for their families, or their neighbors. The Care Agenda is also a bridge to a new economic system that ensures everyone has what they need to thrive, everyone has power to shape their futures, and everyone is equipped to care for one another.

We demand: (1) An immediate care package for all American families; (2) Inclusive policies that drive our recovery in the short-term and long-term; and (3) A down payment on a new economy.

1

Immediate Care Package

We must act boldly to care for ALL families facing untold economic and health hardships.

The reality has set in that we have not done nearly enough to care for Americans in economic and health distress. We should:

End job losses

Pay employers to keep workers on payroll. For workers separated from their jobs, ensure that state Unemployment Insurance systems have all the resources necessary to provide full wage replacement for all workers who need it until we return to full employment.

Expand cash payments

Expand cash payments and strengthen safety net programs ​so that they act as a foundation for families, including: food assistance, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, CHIP, TANF, and direct cash payments. And ensure everyone has access to paid leave and sick time so families can get healthy.

Pass a massive state and local aid package

Fighting COV-19 has drained state and local budgets; already state after state is facing massive cuts to education, safety net programs and critical work forces that keep us safe and healthy. Congress has already acted to unlock trillions of dollars of support to big business. Congress should provide at least $1 trillion of assistance to states and localities to keep public services flowing and prevent unnecessary employment.

Hire now

Safely put millions of currently unemployed people to work right now making Personal Protective Equipment, ventilators, and other tools health care professionals need to: care for the sick; check on families sheltering-in-place; and sanitize public spaces so it’s safe to return to work.

Provide child care

Allocate $100 billion for child care so that the child care system is able to continue operating and providers don’t shut their doors during this crisis. Funding will also be used for emergency child care, so essential workers can stay on the job. Child Care workers providing emergency care need medical and cleaning supplies and safety training. Child care workers must be paid fairly.

Keep workers safe

Protect workers and families by ensuring that no worker can get fired or lose their job for staying home to protect their health and the health of people around them in the workplace. No worker should get fired for blowing the whistle on practices of their employer that put people at risk.

Protect front line workers

Healthcare workers, first responders, grocery workers, farmworkers, childcare providers and other essential workers must immediately have adequate protection and provisions for their health and safety and financial security.

Shelter is safety

End all evictions and foreclosures and suspend all rent and mortgage payments so families can maintain a safe and secure home for the duration of the pandemic and economic crisis. Secure immediately short term rentals and hotel rooms to provide the opportunity to shelter in place safely for people living in congregate shelters and outside. Develop a robust and flexible fiscal response to keep the housing market solvent, such as securing mortgage re-finance opportunities that allow owners to forgo payments for up to 12 months for developers, landlords and homeowners; and as emergency mortgage assistance fund for landlords and property owners that requires their ongoing participation federal rent assistance program moving forward. Embark on a housing infrastructure production initiative that protects our public health and that will put us on course to end the affordability crisis and end homelessness as we know it, and that includes green and sustainable retrofits for all public and federally funded housing that reduces utility expenses for residents.

Direct resources

Direct resources to Black, brown, and immigrant communities: Collect data on the ways communities of color — especially Black and immigrant communities — are being disproportionately impacted by this crisis and drive resources to directly impacted people.

Protect incarcerated people

End cash bail and arrests for minor offenses, commute sentences of all terminally ill inmates, and release everyone in pretrial detention, everyone who has an underlying health condition, and all detained immigrants on their own recognizance. All who remain incarcerated, as well as workers and other staff, must be immediately tested and provided with healthcare.

Protect democracy

All voters should be offered the option to cast their ballot by mail (with multiple submission options, as provided below), so as to enable voters to avoid lines at the polls and exposure to COVID-19.

2

Inclusive policies

We are in this crisis together, so inclusivity must undergird all policies to respond to the crisis, short-term and long-term. 

It is a moral outrage and public health threat that we have chosen to exclude so many of our friends, neighbors, and frontline workers from getting help because of their immigration status. We should:

Provide

Provide free COVID-19 testing, treatment, and services for ALL, regardless of immigration and insurance status.

Open up

Open up all existing and new benefit programs to ALL people, no matter their immigration status.

Extend

Automatically extend work permits for DACA recipients and TPS holders to ensure people have stability and the ability to stay safe.

Suspend

Suspend ALL enforcement activities: deportations, immigration arrests, detentions, check-ins, workplace raids, and raids in sensitive locations especially hospitals, clinics, and in order to be responsive to COVID-19. This must also include locations like food distribution sites and emergency shelters.

Release

Release all detained individuals on their own recognizance, minimizing the use of bond and prioritizing the release of vulnerable populations for whom COVID-19 puts them at high risk.

Stop

Congress must stop giving money to ICE and CBP to detain and deport people.

Eliminate

Eliminate the Public Charge Rule to lift all barriers to accessing care, including fear of deportation.

Stop

Congress must stop the Trump Administration from transferring money from other agencies to detain and deport people. Instead, resources should be used to ensure everyone who needs care has access to it.

Extend

Extend response time for the 2020 Census to help ensure that immigrants and other hard to reach communities are accurately counted.

3

Down Payment on a New Economy

We must make major down payments on building an economy that ensures all families thrive and have real power to determine their futures. 

The current crisis and its impact on families is the preventable consequence of us choosing policies rigged to favor the wealthy. We should:

Implement

Implement long needed universal child care, with fair pay for childcare providers.

Phase-in

Phase-in permanent universal basic income for all people so that everyone benefits from the economic value that we all have a hand in creating.

Raise

Raise the minimum wage to $20/hour, starting with all essential workers.

Ensure

Ensure all workers have the right to organize and collectively bargain with their employers.

Create

Create a federal job guarantee by putting people to work performing jobs that deliver goods and services that people, families, and communities need to thrive.

Expand

Expand and strengthen Social Security so that it delivers retirement security for all people.


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