Haaland, Western Dems Demand Resources for Essential Workers, Condemn Senate Republican Efforts to Hold Funding Hostage

May 6, 2020
Press Release

Albuquerque, N.M. – Today, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) and Democratic members of the U.S. House representing the western region demanded resources for essential workers and condemned Senate Republican efforts to hold funding for local, state, and tribal governments hostage.
 
On a press call including Representatives Joe Neguse (Colo.-02), Steven Horsford (Nev.-04), Susie Lee (Nev.-03), and Greg Stanton (Ariz.-09), the lawmakers addressed critical need to provide direct local government funding and support for public service workers, fire fighters, police and health care workers in the next Coronavirus aid package from Congress. As western states prepare for wildfire season, support for local firefighters and funds for local fire departments are especially critical. Direct funds for local city and county governments are essential to ensure that emergency personnel, first responders, firefighters and police can continue working to safeguard the community. 
 
During the call, Congresswoman Haaland announced an Essential Workers Bill of Rights discussion she’s working on with U.S. Representative Ro Khanna. Haaland will be talking more extensively about an Essential Workers Bill of Rights on an Instagram Live discussion with Khanna at 6 p.m. MT today May 6, 2020.
 
Haaland’s full remarks from this morning’s press call are below:


Thank you Congressman Neguse, I am proud to be standing with frontline workers alongside you and Democrats in our region. 
 
Two weeks ago, Congress passed a bill to increase funding to assist small businesses, but Republicans across the board stopped us from including provisions that put people first.
 
If we don’t provide funding for state, local, and tribal governments – firefighters and police officers don’t get paid, doctors and nurses don’t have the resources to keep people healthy, and small businesses suffer.
 
This pandemic is pushing our country to question what we value.
 
How do we value workers who grow and harvest our food?
How do we value healthcare workers who risk their lives for our loved ones?
How do we value the firefighters and police officers who keep peace in our communities?
 
That’s why Representative Ro Khanna and I are working on an Essential Workers Bill of Rights.
 
Essential workers continue to go to work every day so we can put food on the table, go to the doctor when we have coronavirus symptoms, call 9-1-1 when there’s an emergency, and order items we need in the mail.
 
They not only risk exposing themselves but also their families.
 
They deserve personal protective equipment and a safe work environment, but also hazard pay to compensate them for their vital roles and the extraordinary risks they take.
 
Just as importantly are family caregivers who provide services and support to children, people with disabilities, sick adults and seniors. 
These caregivers keep our families fed and supported, and allow frontline responders to focus on the pandemic.
 
The next relief bill must adopt family caregivers as essential workers, and I’m honored to be working with Rep. Castro on this. They need a living wage, expanded sick, medical and family leave, access to affordable physical and mental health care, and training to respond to this public health crises. 
 
Our essential workers are heroes.
 
Every person in Congress should be fighting for them, but Mitch McConnell and Republicans would rather fight for corporations.
 
That’s why we’re hosting this call, that’s why we’re fighting every day. 
 
Thank you, again, Congressman Neguse, for hosting and to my colleagues for their work every day fighting to protect our constituents.