COVID-19

We care about our families. Get the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in our state here.

It's a dangerous mistake to think that we have to choose between public health and a robust economy. We can only have a healthy economy if we save people. As the federal government works to save lives and puts the economy into a recession or even a depression, it must also put money into the hands of the people it is asking to stay at home.

As an organization, VOICE OKC is committed to these Urgent Principles for Maintaining Economic Stability:

  1. Help American Workers and Families Now: Make an immediate payment of $2,000 per person, followed by additional monthly payments for as long as the economic crisis persists.

  2. Save Jobs and Protect Service Sector Workers: Expand Unemployment Insurance and Paid Sick Leave to cover 90% of wages, for all workers regardless of company size or whether they are contract workers.  Provide service and food distribution worker hazard pay and additional health protections. Offer grants to companies, small businesses, and charitable nonprofits that keep workers on their payroll at 80% of pre-crisis wages.  Provide 0% loans and grants to charitable and religious nonprofits under the SBA Disaster Relief program to meet immediate community needs.  Create large-scale public works in partnership with the religious and non-profit sectors to provide living wage employment with benefits and vital services for families.

  3. Drastically Expand Health Care Coverage for the Most Vulnerable: Provide universal & free Covid-19 tests with extensive community outreach to targeted high risk populations. Increase Medicaid contribution nationwide by 10 percentage points over each participating state’s rate, and reinstate the 100% federal contribution for Medicaid expansion.

  4. Invest Heavily in Health Care Infrastructure to Support Front Line Workers and Providers: Exercise the full powers under the Defense Production Act to produce health care equipment including test kits, ventilators, N95 respirator masks, protective clothing and hospital beds. 

  5. Protect Our Communities: Suspend all evictions, foreclosures and utility shutoffs for homeowners, renters, religious institutions, and non-profit organizations.  Provide free  internet, cable and phone – essential for safety and remote public education. Suspend the public charge rule for the duration of the crisis and ensure that no services utilized during this period apply to any reinstated rule.

  6. Avoid the Mistakes of the 2008 Financial Sector Bailouts: Require safeguards and strict accountability that all corporations seeking bailout funds provide, among other provisions, protection of workers’ jobs, retirement plans, right to organize, healthcare and paid sick leave.  Prohibit executive pay raises and bonuses with these funds. Require market-rate returns on public dollars invested.  For corporations with over 500 employees, limit bailouts only to firms denied private financing. 

 

Suggested Readings:

The Republican Stimulus Bill is Full of Holes by John Cassidy

Op Ed: We Need Food, Medicine, and Safety--Not Tax Cuts and Corporate Bailouts--to Face Coronavirus by J.K. Galbraith

How Loneliness from Coronavirus Isolation Takes Its Own Toll by Robin Wright

Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here's How.

Economic Justice for All (The US Conference of Catholic Bishops Letter on the Economy, 1986)

On the bill that is set to pass

Despite some good provisions, the CARES Act has glaring flaws and falls short of fully protecting workers during the coronavirus crisis (Economic Policy Institute)

On state and local responses to the crisis

https://www.epi.org/blog/the-coronavirus-pandemic-requires-state-and-local-policymakers-to-act-in-addition-to-demanding-a-strong-federal-response/

 

On the cash payments to households (sadly, those using an ITIN number are out of luck in the CARES Act)

https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/IN11268.html