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Ocasio-Cortez calls for emergency Universal Basic Income in response to COVID-19

Ocasio-Cortez calls for emergency Universal Basic Income in response to COVID-19

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While the House of Representatives passed a watered-down version of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in the wee hours of Friday night/Saturday morning, the bill contained many compromises to corporate interests that were pushed by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on behalf of the Trump administration to ensure that Republicans would support the legislation.

With The New York Times estimating that the paid sick leave protections in the bill would only cover around 20% of Americans, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) demanded that Congress do better to protect ordinary citizens rather than kowtow to the wishes of the wealthy and the exploitative companies who refuse to cover sufficient sick leave for their employees, particularly part-time and gig economy workers, and may face economic pressures to go to work while sick, further exacerbating the spread of the disease.

In a post on Twitter, Representative Ocasio-Cortez offered a solution that would actually help the people who would be most affected by the lack of worker protections included in the less-than-comprehensive bill passed this morning and which still needs to be approved by a Senate in recess due to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s lack of urgency surrounding the health emergency and its effects on the average working-class American.

Trump fired America’s pandemic response team. Demand he reassemble it to confront the coronavirus pandemic immediately!

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UBI, or Universal Basic Income, was a significant attraction of the unlikely candidacy of former Democratic hopeful Andrew Yang, who floated the idea of a no-strings-attached monthly government payment of $1000 to every person in the country to reduce the anxiety over meeting the costs of the most basic needs of human existence.

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Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez rightly pointed out that the vulnerability of so many Americans at the time of a public health crisis requires extraordinary measures, especially in a country without the free basic universal health care available in every other civilized nation.

The Bronx-born representative reiterated her stance with a second tweet later in the day.

Unfortunately, the virus won’t wait until the November elections when we can elect a president and a Senate majority who will support such needed reforms.

Let’s hope that when the virus begins to subside that the American people still remember which party had their best interests at heart and which was too beholden to their own corporate donors to act to pass the needed reforms that benefit the common people rather than the wealthy elites.

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