Actions to improve government COVID-19 relief efforts

COVID-19: Federal & State ActionCongress has now passed four relief packages to help people with the devastating impact of the pandemic, business closures, and social distancing. But too often corporate profits are being put before the public interest.

As unemployment rises and our health care and food systems start to crumble, too many people are falling through the cracks of the safety net programs meant to prevent utter destitution and starvation. Sufficient funding of assistance programs and more aggressive measures are needed at all levels of government.

Below are the latest relief efforts you can support to help make sure our nation, commonwealth, and county are prioritizing the needs of people hit hard by this crisis. Bookmark this page as we will regularly update it with new actions. Last update: July 14.

View other critical campaigns we’re working on at our Take Action page.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: What Congress must do

Support the People’s Bailout

Workers and communities on the front lines of the crisis urgently need health and economic protections. Nurses are working without masks. Millions are going without paychecks. Immigrants are excluded from relief. Families are facing water shutoffs. Black and Latinx communities are dying at an alarming and disproportionate rate. Our response to this crisis must fight inequality, not double down on the unjust status quo.

Join Just Harvest and more than 500 groups in urging Members of Congress to create COVID-19 relief and stimulus packages that uphold the Five Principles of a People’s Bailout.

orange arrow Take action

Strengthen SNAP to support economic recovery

Contact your Member of Congress – Rep. Doyle or Rep. Lamb – and thank them for signing on to a letter from 136 U.S. Representatives urging Speaker Pelosi and Democratic Leader Schumer to prioritize anti-hunger efforts and strengthen SNAP in the next COVID-19 legislative relief package. The letter supports strengthening SNAP’s economic stimulus effects and protecting vulnerable populations by:

  1. boosting SNAP maximum benefits by 15 percent,
  2. increasing the minimum SNAP benefit from $16 to $30,
  3. suspending all SNAP administrative rules that would terminate or weaken benefits,

Thank them and urge them to keep pushing on this measure to make sure it is achieved.

orange arrow Contact Rep. Doyle  |   Contact Rep. Lamb

Boost funding for state and local governments

State budget shortfalls could result in deep budget cuts if federal assistance is not provided. We know this issue is relevant for school food service employees, people in the state agencies who process SNAP applications, and employees in public health agencies who administer WIC. AFSCME has set up a call-in number to push for state and local aid, focused on the Senate.

orange arrow Call Sens. Casey and Toomey at (1-888-981-9704)

Stop giving tax breaks to millionaires

Congress’s $135 billion tax giveaway in the recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act almost exclusively benefits millionaires. From this loophole, 43,000 business owners making more than $1 million a year will get an average tax break of $1.6 million this year from this outrageous tax break.  There’s a credible chance of getting this tax break repealed or at least pared back. The House may soon introduce CARES 2 legislation that may propose to repeal this tax loophole. We must keep up the pressure.

orange arrow Take action

Protect immigrant families

Congress’s COVID-19 relief efforts have left many immigrants out of both public health and economic stimulus policies. Much more needs to be done to ensure that everyone has access to the health care, nutrition and income supports they need to endure this crisis.

orange arrow Use this form to email your U.S. Rep./Senator

STATE GOVERNMENT: What PA’s General Assembly must do

Take immediate equitable action on COVID-19 Relief

We must ensure that the burdens of this pandemic don’t fall unequally hard on those who are already overburdened by inequitable policy in this state—black and brown people, immigrants, people with disabilities, those with low to moderate incomes, and anyone who faces structural barriers. This crisis requires a just response. Call on your state legislators to immediately take action to provide economic relief, eliminate barriers to healthcare, protect frontline workers, and protect our democracy and rights.

orange arrow Use this form to contact your PA State Legislators

Support paid family and medical leave

Pennsylvania families want the confidence to know we’re prepared for the next economic disruption. Whether it’s caused by a global pandemic or personal circumstances, COVID-19 is a lesson in preparedness. This year, Republicans and Democrats in the Pa. legislature are joining in support of a plan that offers stable, predictable funding for working families during seasons of economic instability. Senate Bill 580 and House Bill 1739 – The Family Care Act – establish a critical paid family and medical leave insurance fund.

orange arrow Use this form to email your PA State Senator

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: What Allegheny County Council must do

Support paid sick days

Pittsburgh has passed legislation guaranteeing workers paid sick days and it is critical that Allegheny County do the same for working families across Allegheny County – especially as nonessential businesses begin to open in Pennsylvania. Providing this basic protection to Allegheny County residents will give more and more people access to the necessary time off they need to heal and recover amid this pandemic. And it’s not just good pandemic policy – it’s good public policy that will help us protect public health and workers’ well-being at all times.

orange arrow Sign the petition

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