From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject 500+ Groups Demand 'People's Bailout' to Counter Push for Wall Street-Friendly Coronavirus Response
Date March 25, 2020 12:30 AM
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["Lawmakers must respond to this pandemic in a way that yanks us
back from the abyss and actually prevents future catastrophes."]
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500+ GROUPS DEMAND 'PEOPLE'S BAILOUT' TO COUNTER PUSH FOR WALL
STREET-FRIENDLY CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE  
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Jessica Corbett
March 24, 2020
Common Dreams
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_ "Lawmakers must respond to this pandemic in a way that yanks us
back from the abyss and actually prevents future catastrophes." _

"This is a time to be decisive in saving lives, and bold in charting
a path to a genuinely healthier and more equitable future through a
just recovery.", People's Bailout

 

Seven congressional Democrats have joined over 500 progressive groups
in demanding that federal lawmakers respond to the ongoing coronavirus
pandemic with a "People's Bailout [[link removed]]"
that prioritizes public health and economic relief for workers over
corporations while taking steps to prevent future crises.

"Our people were already struggling, and we refuse to die just to save
Wall Street."
—Kaniela Ing, People's Action

The call for a #PeoplesBailout
[[link removed]], crafted by a dozen
advocacy organizations and now endorsed by hundreds more, urges
members of Congress to commit to five principles while putting forth
COVID-19 relief and stimulus packages that contribute to a just
recovery:

1. Health is the top priority, for all people, with no exceptions.
2. Economic relief must be provided directly to the people.
3. Rescue workers and communities, not corporate executives.
4. Make a downpayment on a regenerative economy while preventing
future crises.
5. Protect our democratic process while protecting each other.

Those principles were detailed in a Dear Colleague letter sent out by
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) that said:

As we work to advance further spending packages to ensure immediate
relief and long-term recovery, we need to consider the interrelated
crises of income and wealth inequality, racism, and ecological
decline, which were in place long before COVID-19, and now risk being
intensified.

The letter was also signed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.),
who introduced
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the Green New Deal resolution with Markey last year; Rep. Barabara Lee
(D-Calif.); Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.); and Reps. Pramila Jayapal
(D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), the Congressional Progressive
Caucus co-chairs.

The seven Democratic lawmakers' support for a People's Bailout came as
the Senate continued
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to debate a third coronavirus package pushed by the GOP, which is
widely opposed by progressive lawmakers and activists for giving too
much to corporations while not enough to workers.

"The COVID-19 pandemic demands swift and unprecedented action from the
federal government," declares [[link removed]] the
People's Bailout website. "This is a time to be decisive in saving
lives, and bold in charting a path to a genuinely healthier and more
equitable future through a just recovery."

The initial groups behind the People's Bailout were the Center for
Popular Democracy, the Climate Justice Alliance, Greenpeace,
Indigenous Environmental Network, Indivisible, It Takes Roots, MoveOn,
People's Action, Sierra Club, the Sunrise Movement, the U.S. Climate
Action Network, and the Working Families Party.

"This is a pivotal moment for Congressional Democrats, and it's a
chance to show our party learned something from the 2008 financial
crisis," Varshini Prakash, executive director and co-founder of the
Sunrise Movement, said
[[link removed]]
in a statement Tuesday. "Gambling trillions of tax dollars on
stimulating the stock market can't fix the shortage of hospital beds,
or the pollution in our skies."

"We have a choice to make," Prakash continued. "Will we let the Trump
administration spend hundreds of billions bailing out just the
financial industry and massive corporations, or will we put millions
of people to work tackling the dual crises of COVID and climate
change?"

Sunrise political director Evan Weber highlighted congressional
Republicans' efforts to give President Donald Trump "a $500 billion
blank check to bail out any corporation he wants and to spend $3
billion
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driving up the price of oil for consumers at the pump to protect oil
companies' profits."

"Is it so ridiculous," Weber asked, "to suggest that if the government
is going to give money to a company right now that we should ensure
the money is going to workers not executives and toward preventing the
second biggest global crisis: climate change?"

People's Action climate justice campaign director Kaniela Ing also
expressed concerns about congressional efforts to use the coronavirus
crisis "to jam through massive giveaways to corporations instead of
saving the people and communities hurt most by Trump's failure to
act."

"Our people were already struggling, and we refuse to die just to save
Wall Street," Ing said
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in a statement. "Lawmakers must respond to this pandemic in a way that
yanks us back from the abyss and actually prevents future
catastrophes."

Warning that "if we don't act in a forward-thinking way, other crises
are just over the horizon," Ing added that "COIVD-19 is only a
microcosm of what climate calamity will look like. And this week
demonstrated how unprepared we are."

The People's Bailout aligns with demands from other new campaigns
along with experts and activists that policymakers worldwide learn
from this pandemic and use it as an opportunity to tackle the climate
emergency. The public health crisis has provoked fresh calls for
Congress to enact a "Green Stimulus
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and world leaders to pursue a global Green New Deal
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Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike
3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.
 

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