Third Way: Pass the bill now

Third Way: Pass the bill now

WASHINGTON — Third Way issued the following statement from Jim Kessler, Executive Vice President for Policy:

"It’s imperfect. There are aspects we don’t like. PASS IT NOW.

"We commend the Senate and the White House for reaching agreement on the rescue package and are hopeful for its swift passage in the Senate and House and the President’s signature. The estimated $2 trillion cost for this recovery legislation is aggressive and absolutely essential. Combined with assertive actions by the Federal Reserve in recent days, it is our hope that this coordinated effort keeps people on payrolls, provides security necessary for people riding out this economic storm, and stabilizes businesses and markets. The alternative for legislators is to dither and posture to “improve” the bill. Let’s be clear: delay hurts millions of people who are laid off or will be laid off in a matter of days. Delay hurts hospitals and first responders. And delay sinks our economy further into the ground.

"In this current package, we are particularly supportive of the unprecedented efforts to get money directly into people’s bank accounts, including the one-time payments of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, as well as increases in weekly unemployment benefits. We are supportive of the unprecedented help so small businesses can keep employees on the payroll and sustain operations.

"There are also parts of the bill no one wants to do. No one enters the public policy arena with the goal of bailing out large corporations. But 36.2% of the American workforce gets a paycheck from companies that each employ 2,500 or more people. That is about equal to the 38.9% of American workers who are employed at businesses with less than 100 people. Companies large and small didn’t cause the COVID-19 virus and the economic calamity it has caused. The tens of millions of employees that work in these very large and very small firms have mortgages, rent, children, parents, spouses, health care, tuition, and other pressures and concerns that are immediate. This bill, imperfect as any $2 trillion package constructed in 4 days will be, is for those workers.

"Finally, we are not done when this package is hopefully passed. In the short term, we do not yet know the severity of the virus’ impact on families and communities as well as its full impact on the economy. Historically, we have had two once-in-a-century economic shocks within 12 years. As we reset the economy of today and move forward to a better economy of tomorrow, we must reduce the likelihood and punishment of future economic shocks. In the last economic crisis, we passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to guard against future financial collapses. Thus far, the financial services sector has held up, in part, because of those measures.

"In the future, we need to reform vast swaths of our economy—including health care, the social safety net, protections from climate change and cyber conflicts—to ensure Americans can absorb shocks that will only become far more common."


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