The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Johanna Kichton, 240.206.1145, 

As Congress Negotiates COVID Relief Bill and Budget Reconciliation Process Begins, People's Action Announces Priorities to Protect Everyday People

In New Letter to Congressional Democratic Leaders, People’s Action Demands Lawmakers Fight for Cash Payments, Vaccines for All, Rent Relief, Good Jobs and Pay, Debt Cancellation, and State Funding


People's Action today sent a letter to congressional Democrat leadership demanding they protect everyday people in any new COVID relief bill. In the letters, People's Action Director George Goehl emphasizes that a new COVID relief bill should build on President Biden's American Rescue Plan, and that people's needs should not be sacrificed for bipartisanship. He urged Majority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Chairmen of the Senate and House Budget Committees, Senator Sanders and Rep. Yarmuth to use their trifecta and the budget reconciliation process to secure urgently needed relief.

"We believe the $1.9 trillion in expenditures outlined in President Biden's American Rescue Plan must be the floor, and not the ceiling. Considering the scale and longstanding nature of our public health and economic crisis, a scaled-back COVID relief package would be a big miss," People's Action Director George Goehl wrote. "Instead, we look to you to ensure that people get the relief they need and voted for. We are seeking a recovery that is equitable, and helps address longstanding racial disparities driven by bad policy."

Congressional negotiators are working on the next round of COVID relief and are expected to start the budget reconciliation process this week.

In the letter, People's Action specifically demands lawmakers include the following in the next COVID relief package:

  • Recurring monthly $2,000 cash payments;
  • A strengthened moratorium on evictions including cancellation of rent, mortgages, and debt relief;
  • Full coverage of healthcare costs for all until recovered from the pandemic and free and fair distribution of vaccines;
  • Funds for harm reduction services to address the overdose crisis;
  • Public jobs expansion focusing on health care and addressing disparities;
  • Cancellation of student debt;
  • Increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour and ending the tipped minimum wage and sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities; and
  • Funding to states and localities including tribal communities and U.S. territories.

The full text of the letter to congressional Democratic leadership may be found here.

People's Action builds the power of poor and working people, in rural, suburban, and urban areas to win change through issue campaigns and elections.