Progressive groups call on Pelosi, Schumer to prioritize women in COVID-19 relief package
More than 80 progressive groups on Thursday urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to prioritize the needs of women during negotiations for the COVID-19 relief package, including raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ultraviolet, Public Citizen, and the Women’s March, said that creating a $15 minimum wage and eliminating “subminimum wages” for tipped workers would be a start toward ensuring economic equality through wage justice.
“The simple truth is that women, especially Black women, Latina women, Asian American and Pacific Islander women, and Indigenous women, have suffered the worst impacts of the pandemic, and they need to be lifted up in the solutions and relief you draft and ultimately pass in Congress,” they wrote. “If we are to truly build back better, we must build an economy that works for women.”
The groups also called for $40 billion in funds for the child care industry in the package, which would follow the $10 billion grant program created in the December COVID-19 package. Additionally, they called for emergency paid leave provisions and $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals.
“There is no time to waste; you must enact bold, inclusive relief. There can be no compromises or watering down when our lives and health are on the line,” they wrote.
Voto Latino, Paid Leave for All Action, Feminist Majority, Center for American Progress Fund and the Coalition of Labor Union Women also signed onto the letter.
Congressional Democrats are working to pass a coronavirus relief package that mirrors President Biden’s initial $1.9 trillion plan, which included raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. But, Biden has since indicated that the provision may not make it in the final passage although Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has vowed to include it.
Democrats have moved forward with budget reconciliation, which means they can pass a coronavirus relief package without GOP support.