House Democrats push to include primary care workers in coronavirus relief package
Democratic Reps. Joaquin Castro (Texas) and Deb Haaland (N.M.) led more than 30 of their colleagues in asking House leadership to broaden the definition of essential workers in the next relief package and guarantee them paid sick leave and affordable child care, among other benefits.
The proposal would include family care and child care providers, who often lack traditional employment status.
“The first three COVID-19 relief bills largely overlooked the needs of caregivers and those whose care needs may be best served in their homes,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter addressed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
The lawmakers suggest the government develop “one-stop web portal and app” for essential workers to access information, find resources, assess eligibility for programs and apply for benefits.
They cite concern for family caregivers and child care workers who are not mentioned in the previous relief bills, and according to them, more than 52 million people in the U.S. are caregivers. Of those, 33 million are unpaid primary family caregivers of seniors and people with disabilities.
“The frontlines of this crisis start at home and will remain there as we fight this pandemic for the long haul,” Castro said in a statement. “The gross inequality of our health care and childcare systems is starker than ever, and that includes a complete lack of support for our nation’s caregivers.”
The timing of the next relief package, known as the CARES 2 Act, is expected to include hundreds of billions of dollars more to help workers, businesses and families weather the crisis. Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats will push to include $1 trillion in aid for states as well.