Covid-19 Rescue Bill: Sanders Wants Money To Rescue Workers Not Corporate Bigs

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Bernie Sanders. Photo: Gage Skidmore 
 
Bernie Sanders in an MSNBC interview with Chris Hayes made the following comments:
 
You cannot simply give $50 billion to the airline industry. And of course this crises is not their making. But you can’t just give them that money to do anything they want. If we are going to bail out the airline industry, if your are going to bail out tourism, if your going to bail out hotels, etcetera, what you have to do is make sure that that money is going to protect working people.
 
And what you are seeing in the United Kingdom, in other countries, they are saying to employers, if you retain your workers, even if you furlough them, even if they are working from home, they are going to continue to get the paycheck that the government is providing.
 
So bottomline is yes, I do understand that major industries through no fault of their own are in trouble; but our job is not to make these industries richer, not to allow then to do stock buybacks but to protect the workers in those companies.
 
And it is going to cost a lot off money, but not spending that money now will make a bad situation even worse. Because as you know there are some people out there who are talking about by the end of June unemployment being 20, 25, 30%. So right now our focus has got to be, in my view, to make sure that all workers in this country are kept whole. They continue to get their paycheck. To make certain that in addition to that, people get a check of $2,000 a month, to make certain right now that we move in an unbelievably aggressive way, to make sure that our healthcare providers, our doctors and our nurses are not dying on the job trying to protect us.
 
And that means that Trump has got to enforce in a vigorous way the Defense Production Act. To make sure that companies now are not producing t-shirts and underwear—that is not our major need at the moment. Masks, gowns, gloves are the need; and companies have got to of that.
 
Some are already voluntarily doing it. They need to be compensated well. But they’ve gotta transform their production capabilities to deal with the crises that we face right now.
 
The other thing I think, Chris, is that while Congress and there are people up all night working on this $2 trillion bill. People are working really hard, they understand the extent of the tragedy. We also got to take a deep breath and ask how we got to be in a country where so many people are in financial despair right now.
 
What I worry about is that at a time when half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck those paychecks are stopping. There are people out there watching this program who are saying I I can’t feed my kids tomorrow.
 
How did we get there? How do we have a health care system that was so unprepared, among many other things, for this epidemic? 
 
 
 

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