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Washington, D.C. July 23, 2020 — With CARES Act unemployment benefits and other humanitarian relief programs set to expire next week, 33 progressive organizations sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, urging them to incorporate the Paycheck Recovery Act and the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act in the next COVID-19 relief package.  

The need for humanitarian relief is urgent. But while the HEROES Act included many important programs, it did not address the consolidation of corporate power. Without measures to address growing corporate power, additional aid to workers, consumers, and small businesses will ultimately end up in the hands of banks, monopolies, and big landlords, creating a society that is even more unequal and undemocratic. 

As the letter explains, Congress must ensure future legislation addresses the dual priorities of saving lives and limiting, rather than encouraging, the further concentration of economic power. Moreover, Democrats must leverage their power to negotiate aggressively with the Trump Administration and Republican leadership and secure a bill that will safeguard public health and our economic well-being. 

“The unfortunate reality is that Congress’ response to the pandemic has supercharged the power of big corporations and Wall Street to prey on workers, consumers, small businesses, and communities,” said Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project. “Any serious response that purports to prioritize the well-being of families and communities must include a paycheck guarantee and a brake on corporate consolidation.”

“The post-2008 so-called recovery left America more unequal – consigning millions to perpetual poverty and making it harder for us to weather the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis,” said David Segal, Executive Director of Demand Progress. “We can’t allow this to happen again, and must ensure that our economy becomes more democratic. Yet without the institution of measures like a merger ban and a paycheck guarantee inequality will only increase, to the detriment of countless millions of ordinary people, our social fabric, and our democracy.”

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“The precipice of disaster is no time for half measures,” said Maurice BP-Weeks, Co-Executive Director of the Action Center on Race and the Economy. “Communities of color depend on us reaching as far as we can in this moment. We can’t settle for increased corporate control and reduced benefits for everyday folks.”

A copy of the letter is available here. It was signed by: Action Center on Race and the Economy; Action Group Network;American Economic Liberties Project; American Family Voices; Americans for Financial Reform; Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO; Be A Hero Action Fund; Bend the Arc: Jewish Action; CODEPINK; Color Of Change; Demand Progress; Demos; Friends of the Earth; U.S. Grassroots Illinois Action; Indivisible; Institute for Local Self Reliance; Justice Democrats; LA Forward; Mainers for Accountable Leadership; National Employment Law Project;Open Markets Institute; Our Revolution; Patriotic Millionaires; People’s Action; Presente Action; Progress America; Public Citizen; Social Security Works; Sunrise Movement; Tax March; The Justice Collaborative; and Woodstock Institute.

Learn more about Economic Liberties here.