Mar 9, 2020 - Health

Pelosi and Schumer call for paid sick leave for coronavirus patients

House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer at the capitol

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer at a news conference in the Capitol, May 15, 2019. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged the Trump administration to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus by stepping up workers' protections with a series of new measures.

Details: Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement the administration should introduce paid sick leave for those impacted by COVID-19, enable widespread and free coronavirus testing access, expand programs such as SNAP food stamps, and reimburse patients for noncovered costs related to the virus.

What they're saying: The top Democrats said in their statement they were pleased the bipartisan emergency response bill had passed and that they wanted to work with the Trump administration on a coordinated, government-wide plan to respond to the outbreak.

  • "However, President Trump continues to manufacture needless chaos within his administration and it is hampering the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak," they said in the statement, titled "Pelosi, Schumer to President Trump on Coronavirus Response: Put Health and Safety of American People Before Corporate Needs."
  • "In light of reports that the Trump administration is considering new tax cuts for major corporations impacted by the coronavirus, we are demanding that the administration prioritize the health and safety of American workers and their families over corporate interests."

The other side: Axios has contacted the Trump administration for comment. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told the Washington Post Friday the administration was weighing "'timely and targeted' federal interventions to help workers, businesses and industries most vulnerable economically to the outbreak."

  • Per The Hill, Kudlow also cautioned, "The story I am trying to tell is a story of timely and targeted microforms of assistance, not gargantuan, across-the-board, throw money at the problem, which has not worked in the past. Because we think that we will get out of this in months."

The big picture: Coronavirus has now infected more than 110,000 people globally — including over 500 in the United States, per data from Johns Hopkins and state health departments. The global death toll has risen to more than 3,800, with 21 deaths reported in the U.S.

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