WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The $3-trillion HEROES Act, which the U.S. House passed last Friday, isn’t likely to pass the Senate, but a few key pieces in it may survive, including hazard pay for our front line workers.
Grocery store workers, firefighters, nurses and doctors all expose themselves to COVID risk everyday.
Some lawmakers say they should get paid extra for it.
“We are asking everyday Americans to show up to work, and put their health and their lives at risk,” said Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.).
So Congresswoman Sanchez and House Democrats included $200-billion for hazard pay in the HEROES Act.
The coronavirus relief bill passed by the house on Friday.
“We’d like it to be bipartisan and bicameral. There isn’t any reason why we shouldn’t be supporting our frontline workers,” Sanchez said.
“It’s one thing just to say thank you, it’s another to back it up with action,” said Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.).
Levin says the HEROES Act goes beyond a pay raise.
“It also provides workplace safety standards and OSHA standards that I think are overdue and necessary,” he said..
There is much in the HEROES Act that Republicans say they simply cannot support but on hazard pay for essential workers, many say there’s room to negotiate.
“I’m not voting against those things per se, because we got $175 billion for health care workers and hospitals that was in the CARES Act,” said Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.).
Hill says he’s open to hazard pay for essential workers but he says states and employers should first work through the funding from the last aid package.
“Let’s see how it’s working to get the economy restarted. And then we can come back…look for gaps and find solutions,” Hill said.
Hill says the key to passing any meaningful relief package is to do it in a bipartisan way.
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