House Democrats push to include primary care workers in coronavirus relief package

House Democrats push to include primary care workers in coronavirus relief package
© Greg Nash

Democratic Reps. Joaquin CastroJoaquin Castro This week: Congress set for bipartisan coronavirus talks as clock ticks Sherman joins race for House Foreign Affairs gavel Castro launches bid for House Foreign Affairs gavel MORE (Texas) and Deb HaalandDebra HaalandMichelle Obama wishes Barack a happy birthday: 'My favorite guy' One way we can honor John Lewis' legacy: Amend the 13th Amendment Native American lawmaker: 'Redskins' name change 'should have been made a long time ago' MORE (N.M.) led more than 30 of their colleagues in asking House leadership to broaden the definition of essential workers in the next relief package and guarantee them paid sick leave and affordable child care, among other benefits. 

The proposal would include family care and child care providers, who often lack traditional employment status. 

“The first three COVID-19 relief bills largely overlooked the needs of caregivers and those whose care needs may be best served in their homes,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter addressed to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCoronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Top Democrats say postmaster confirmed changes to mail service amid delays MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyJudge throws out House GOP lawsuit over proxy voting Republicans fear disaster in November Gaetz set to endorse primary opponent of fellow Florida GOP lawmaker MORE (R-Calif.).

ADVERTISEMENT

The lawmakers suggest the government develop “one-stop web portal and app” for essential workers to access information, find resources, assess eligibility for programs and apply for benefits.

They cite concern for family caregivers and child care workers who are not mentioned in the previous relief bills, and according to them, more than 52 million people in the U.S. are caregivers. Of those, 33 million are unpaid primary family caregivers of seniors and people with disabilities.

“The frontlines of this crisis start at home and will remain there as we fight this pandemic for the long haul,” Castro said in a statement. “The gross inequality of our health care and childcare systems is starker than ever, and that includes a complete lack of support for our nation’s caregivers.”

The timing of the next relief package, known as the CARES 2 Act, is expected to include hundreds of billions of dollars more to help workers, businesses and families weather the crisis. Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats will push to include $1 trillion in aid for states as well.