Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D. NY) nailed it yesterday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO: I don’t think we ever get back to normal. I think this is one of the new normals now in public health, like we go through the environment, like we’ve gone through the economy. It is a new normal.
It is going to depend on what we do. This is why it is such an important period for government and a political discussion. Nothing is precharted here. It is all a function of what we do. How good are we at getting this testing up? Are we better than we’ve been in the passed? Is it going to take us months to come to scale on rapid testing? That’s the only way to start to get people back to work.
You have to have millions and millions of tests frankly faster and better than we have done to date…
How will we prepare in the future if we’re not expecting a second wave or a mutation of this virus, then we have learned nothing. As Congressman Suozzi said, what does the federal government do and what do they pass? If they pass another piece of legislation through that Senate that is politically biassed, that is trying to help Republican states when — and not taking into consideration where the impact really is like in New York and California and Michigan, then shame on all of them.
So it is purely a function of what we do and how well we do it.
Thank you Governor Cuomo for speaking the truth. Top Democrats aren’t just fighting for more funding for workers during this pandemic:
A Heroes Fund for essential workers should be a part of the next phase of the Congressional response to coronavirus.
No proposal will be complete without addressing the needs of our doctors, nurses, medical workers, truck drivers, grocers, transit workers, and more.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 7, 2020
Senate Democrats announced a plan to add a hazard pay boots for essential workers who are still doing their jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said the plan calls for doctors, nurses, grocery store clerks, and other essential workers to receive up to $25,000 in hazard pay.
The money would be part of the Phase 4 coronavirus relief bill.
Schumer said he’s calling it the “Heroes Fund.”
“First, a premium pay increase for essential workers, up to $25,000 from the start of the public health emergency until the end of the year,” Schumer said. “That’s equivalent to a raise of $13 an hour.”
“We have janitors who disinfect our medical facilities, truck drivers who deliver supplies where they need to go, grocery store clerks who keep the food on the shelves of American pantries, transit workers who keep the trains and buses running, and many more,” he added.
The plan also includes an essential worker recruitment incentive of $15,000 to keep the medical workforce that’s needed to fight the pandemic, Schumer said.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday accused President Trump and congressional Republicans of seeking to suppress voting out of fear of a fair verdict while defending Democratic efforts to expand mail-in balloting amid the coronavirus crisis.
“We have a different value system about what voting means to a democracy,” Pelosi asserted during a call with reporters, referring to Republicans. “Clearly, we want to remove all obstacles to participation.”
Democrats have sought to include billions of dollars in recent emergency relief bills to empower states to expand by-mail balloting amid fears that voting in person will exacerbate the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump and GOP lawmakers have hammered the Democratic proposals, calling the idea a politically motivated power-grab. Trump, despite casting his own ballot by mail for Florida’s March 17 primary, has warned that the system is “corrupt” and invites widespread fraud.
“They grab thousands of mail-in ballots and they dump it,” he told reporters this week, accusing Democrats of using the coronavirus crisis to expand a vote-by-mail system that he says “doesn’t work out for Republicans.”
“The things they had in there were crazy,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” last week, three days after he’d signed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. “They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
Pelosi responded to the remarks on Thursday, questioning why the president is so concerned about high levels of voter participation.
“The president says that he thinks that if we had vote-by-mail no Republican will ever get elected. Well, have more confidence in what the Republican Party stands for,” she said.
“It had been a Grand Old Party. It had been hijacked, I know,” she continued. “But nonetheless … Republicans know how to vote by mail. So he shouldn’t belittle the ability of Republicans to make their voices heard for the candidates they support, and not be afraid of the voice of the people. But they are. And that’s one of the reasons they want to stand in the way of a more open democratic system at a time of a pandemic.”
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is joining a growing call for the release of comprehensive racial data on the coronavirus pandemic, which he says has put a spotlight on inequity and the impact of “structural racism.”
Biden’s Medium post on Thursday said he is joining Democratic congressional members Ayanna Pressley, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and others who have also called for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies to release more data. Biden said he wants data released on income, too, to better help allocate resources to communities in need.Biden acknowledged this is an “anxious, difficult time” for all Americans, but he noted the disparate impact on black Americans and Latinos, saying the virus can “hit anyone, anywhere,” but it doesn’t affect every “community equally.”
The former vice president also noted a climbing number of infections and deaths among “Navajo Nation and fears about the disproportionate impact the virus could have on Indian Country.”
“Unsurprisingly, it’s also amplifying the structural racism that is built into so much of our daily lives, our institutions, our laws, and our communities,” Biden wrote. “It’s unconscionable, and it shouldn’t be the case in the United States of America in the 21st Century.”
The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the presidential race, forcing candidates to find innovative ways to reach voters and confront the rippling effects of the virus across the country.
The evidence is clear that the Senate GOP does not give a fuck about helping those in pandemic hot spots because they are predominantly in urban areas in blue states that largely affects people of color. Senate Republicans would rather make the rest of the country look like Wisconsin:
The scene Tuesday of Wisconsinites in masks and gloves gathering in long lines to vote, after Republicans sued to defeat extended, mail-in ballot deadlines, did not deter the president and top officials in his party. Republican leaders said they were pushing ahead to fight state-level statutes that could expand absentee balloting in Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona and elsewhere. In New Mexico, Republicans are battling an effort to go to a mail-in-only primary, and they vowed on Wednesday to fight a new move to expand postal balloting in Minnesota.
The new political effort is clearly aimed at helping the president’s re-election prospects, as well as bolstering Republicans running further down the ballot. While his advisers tend to see the issue in more nuanced terms, Mr. Trump obviously views the issue in a stark, partisan way: He has complained that under Democratic plans for national expansion of early voting and voting by mail, “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
At his daily news briefing on Wednesday, Mr. Trump said he believed vote-by-mail had been abused to hurt Republicans, and “I will not stand for it,” though he allowed that mail ballots could help some older voters — an important part of his voting base. It was a slight modulation that came at the urging of his advisers.
He expanded on the idea on Twitter on Wednesday evening, calling absentee ballots “a great way to vote for the many senior citizens, military, and others who can’t get to the polls on Election Day.” He added that universal mail-in voting “shouldn’t be allowed!”
In their efforts to fight expanding vote-by-mail, Republican officials are counting on a crucial and powerful ally: like-minded judges. This week, conservative majorities on the U.S. Supreme Court and the highest court in Wisconsin indicated they did not view the pandemic as cause to yield on ideology, issuing party-line rulings rejecting Democratic efforts to defer Tuesday’s vote or extend mail-in balloting.
The decisions seemed to augur a hard road for Democrats in the looming court fights over how to proceed with voting in this crisis moment.
“We know moving forward that we will face a hostile court, that’s not new,” said Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. But he indicated that it was just the beginning of a prolonged fight. “What they have done is invited further litigation, because they literally, quite literally, disenfranchised voters who had relied in good faith on the court.”
After Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court forced Wisconsin voters to risk their lives standing in long voting lines Tuesday, people across the country are seeing flashing red warning lights for November.
In a New York Times op-ed yesterday, Elizabeth Warren wrote, “If Americans are forced to choose either voting this November or staying safe from the virus, then our democracy will be lost.” Then, Warren announced her new plan to protect elections from the coronavirus and Republican voter suppression strategies.
As Congress debates what to include in the next major coronavirus relief bill, Warren’s plan should be there. There should be strings requiring states to remove as many steps from the voting process as possible — and mail-in ballots should be automatically sent to all voters at their home s like they do in Washington and Colorado.
Join the thousands who’ve already signed the petition to Dems in Congress: Make Elizabeth Warren’s election protection and national vote by mail central to the next coronavirus relief bill now being debated in Congress.
Warren says Congress should go further than the obvious step of protecting public health by allowing Americans to vote from home “by requiring all states to mail every registered voter a ballot with pre-paid postage and a self-sealing envelope, and mandating that they waive absentee ballot requirements that undermine social distancing guidelines, such as requirements that absentee voters submit copies of their IDs or include a notary or witness signature with their mail-in ballot.”
Elizabeth Warren’s plan fully recognizes both the new challenges of the coronavirus and the existing barriers that have been used to block millions of Americans from voting.
Warren’s election protection plan includes:
- Nationwide vote by mail
- 30 days early vote
- No voter roll purges
- End ID requirements
- $4 billion to states for the transition
- Additional funds to USPS
- Hazard pay for poll workers
We cannot allow Trump and Republican politicians to steal our elections by forcing people to choose between voting and their own safety or the safety of their families and communities. Democrats in Congress should put forward a real plan to protect every person’s right to vote, so that no one is forced to make this choice. And they should put that plan in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill.
SIGN THE PETITION TO DEMS IN CONGRESS: Make Elizabeth Warren’s election protection plan central to the next coronavirus relief bill currently being outlined in Congress — including prioritizing national vote by mail.
Democrats in Congress must hear that this is a top priority for the American people. The more people who sign the petition, the more that both Congress and the media will have to pay attention. Please sign. Then forward this email to 5 friends and ask them to join the call.
Thanks for being a bold progressive.
–The PCCC team
Indivisible is also pushing hard on Congressional Democrats to keep up the fight for national vote by mail:
It’s Meagan Hatcher-Mays, Director of Democracy Policy at Indivisible. I’m horrified, and frankly pissed, about what’s going on with our elections in Wisconsin and across the country right now — and you should be too.
This is a long email, so real quick: if you want to know what happened last night in Wisconsin, read on. If you’re already up to date and want to hear about the COVID-19 bill that Senator Schumer and Representative Pelosi released today, and how it relates to democracy, skip down to the “What next” section, below.
What Happened in Wisconsin
Republicans took their voter suppression scheme to the next level this week. Late Monday night, the conservatives on the Supreme Court issued a disastrous 5-4 ruling that disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters, disproportionately affecting people of color. Its impacts were felt in Wisconsin yesterday, and soon they’ll be rippling all over the country.
Here’s what happened: late Monday night, the Supreme Court halted Wisconsin’s plan to extend absentee voting before yesterday’s primary, resulting in thousands of late absentee ballots being thrown away. Voters in the state who requested absentee ballots weeks or even months ago didn’t receive their ballots until after the election due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus. Now they’ve been disenfranchised — not because they did anything wrong, but because the United States Supreme Court wanted to help out their Republican friends in Wisconsin by making it even more difficult for progressives and people of color to vote.
On top of that, thousands of poll workers across Wisconsin, understandably, declined to work yesterday in fear for their health, and hundreds of polling stations closed as a result, leaving folks across the state to decide between risking their health or not voting in a pivotal election. You’ve probably seen the photos: enormous lines of people, trying to maintain social distance while also stay in line to vote. It was horrifying.
The GOP’s voter suppression efforts have ramifications far beyond the primary election in Wisconsin — they’ll impact participation in the November presidential election, too. Here’s what’s at stake: without substantial funding and policies in place to protect our election, millions of voters, especially in brown and Black communities, will lose their chance to vote. The GOP doesn’t want to expand vote-by-mail to all states because it means they’ll lose — Trump said so himself on national television.
Yesterday, Senator Elizabeth Warren released a plan (of course) that builds on Senators Wyden and Klobuchar’s bill, and includes some non-negotiable policies:
- Expanding early in-person voting days and no-excuse absentee vote-by-mail to all states.
- Banning oppressive requirements, like strict voter ID laws, that prevent people from voting.
- Banning voter roll purges.
- Offering hazard pay for poll workers.
- Requiring that all states provide envelopes with prepaid postage to all voters.
- Requiring absentee ballots to be counted if postmarked or signed before the close of the polls on election day.
- Providing at least $2 billion in funding to states to implement these reforms.
Here’s the bad part: this morning, Democrats released their latest COVID-19 bill, and while we’re glad that party leaders acknowledge the flaws in the last package, this package doesn’t remedy them. The last bill was a $2 trillion free-for-all for corporations and elites, and this bill doesn’t even pretend to address that by strengthening oversight over the bailout money. And even worse, even after the chaos we all witnessed in Wisconsin yesterday, the new bill doesn’t include any additional money for election reforms or vote by mail.
Put simply, Democrats’ new bill is not enough and we have to press for more.
Our ask is simple: call your members of Congress — including Democrats — today and demand that they fight to include these emergency protections for our election in the next coronavirus bill. Click here to make the call now, and then keep calling.
And if you want to do more, here are a few more asks:
- Record a video to demand your senators include Elizabeth Warren’s election protection plan in the next coronavirus bill. Click here to make a video.
- Email your member of Congress and ask that prioritize a people-first stimulus bill that puts people over profits. Click here to draft and send an email.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and explain to your neighbors and Congress why they should support a people’s bailout in response to COVID-19. Click here to draft your letter.
- Share our election security resource far and wide. Click here to view.
- Donate to Indivisible Project to help us keep producing resources, supporting advocacy, and providing the tools and support you need to push forward an agenda that prioritizes people over profits.
You’ll hear more from us about this in the coming days. Mark your calendar now for next Friday, April 17th, which is our Vote By Mail day of action. Now, more than ever, it’s clear that the only way to save democracy is more democracy — and that includes making sure every eligible vote is counted in November.
Click the links above.
Flip The Senate is also putting pressure on the Senate to pass vote by mail:
The coronavirus outbreak represents an unprecedented challenge to our democracy and the right to vote. Every eligible voter should be able to make their voice heard in this election without facing long lines, crowds, or fearing they may be exposed to the virus.
That’s just common-sense, yet President Trump and Mitch McConnell have already promised to fight reforms that would protect our democracy — no doubt fearing a fair election in November.
Just as many Americans have adapted to this pandemic, so too must our government and our democracy — which is why we must fight to ensure every voter can vote by mail in 2020.
What happened in Wisconsin this week was a disgrace. Republicans forced huge numbers of voters to potentially expose themselves to the virus in order to vote in a primary election. No one should have to choose between exercising their right to vote or putting themselves in danger
We cannot allow that to happen nationwide, which is why we need Congress to act quickly to enact vote by mail across the country.
Thanks for taking action today.
— Flip the Senate
P.S. Nothing scares Trump and McConnell more than an overwhelming majority of Americans being able to cast their ballots safely and quickly. So, the only way we can get this done is by creating a groundswell of grassroots support that they cannot afford to ignore. Sign our petition today, if you agree:
Let America Vote is also putting pressure on the Senate to pass national vote by mail:
The right to vote is sacred and must be protected — even during a pandemic. We saw firsthand in Wisconsin on Tuesday that voters were forced to choose between their safety and participating in the election. This shouldn’t have to be the case.
While our country faces times of great uncertainty, one thing that is for certain is that our democracy cannot, and must not, come to a halt in times of crisis.
We must take action now to ensure that everyone can vote safely this November. Nobody should be forced to choose between their safety and their right to vote. Now more than ever, Congress must provide essential funding to both expand a vote by mail option in all 50 states and to ensure sanitary and safe in-person voting.
In order to ensure everyone can safely vote, California must make sure voting is easier and more accessible for voters and election officials. Congress must provide funding to expand vote by mail for all Americans and additional money to make in-person voting a safe alternative.
The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy and this is our moment to stand up and protect it. So I have to ask:
Let America Vote and End Citizens United
And let’s fight hard to get a Democratic Senate Majority. Click below to donate and get involved with these Democratic Senate candidates:
- Dr. Al Gross (I. AK)
- Mark Kelly (D. AZ)
- John Hickenlooper (D. CO)
- Teresa Tomlinson (D. GA)
- Jon Ossoff (D. GA)
- Sarah Riggs Amico (D. GA)
- Rev. Raphael Warnock (D. GA)
- Theresa Greenfield (D. IA)
- Dr. Barbara Bollier (D. KS)
- Amy McGrath (D. KY)
- Sara Gideon (D. ME)
- Steve Bullock (D. MT)
- Mike Espy (D. MS)
- Ben Ray Lujan (D. NM)
- Cal Cunningham (D. NC)
- Jaime Harrison (D. SC)
- MJ Hegar (D. TX)
- Royce West (D. TX)