Durbin Calls On Trump Administration To Prioritize Health & Safety Working Families In Coronavirus Response

WASHINGTON – Amid the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), during a speech on the Senate floor, called on the Trump Administration to prioritize the health and safety of working families during the coronavirus outbreak, including paid sick leave, enhanced unemployment insurance, transportation, food security, educational plans, affordable treatment, and widespread and free coronavirus testing. 

Last week, Durbin, along with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), helped introduce new, emergency paid sick leave legislation to provide paid sick days immediately to workers in light of the coronavirus crisis, and in preparation for future public health emergencies.  This emergency paid sick days legislation requires all employers to allow workers to accrue seven days of paid sick leave and to provide an additional 14 days available immediately in the event of any public health emergency, including the current coronavirus outbreak.

“As we look forward to the next steps to respond to this public health emergency, it is critical that Congress prioritize the health and safety of workers and their families.  Our public health experts are rightfully telling people to stay home if they are sick.  But, for many Americans, staying home means losing a paycheck that helps them afford rent, pay for food, medication, and child care,” Durbin said.  “I’m proud to have helped introduce legislation last week that would immediately provide 14 days of paid sick leave to workers in light of coronavirus.  It also is important that we ensure workers have access to unemployment insurance benefits during this uncertain time.”

Durbin continued, “We passed a robust funding bill last week, but our work is not done – there will be far-reaching impacts of this outbreak.  It is imperative that we look toward developing a comprehensive response that benefits everyone— including America’s working families and small businesses—not just large corporations.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

In his speech on the Senate floor, Durbin also highlighted the good work being done at Argonne National Laboratory to combat the coronavirus.  Argonne is helping to address the threat of coronavirus with its Advanced Photon Source.  Researchers are using this high-power X-ray to study the virus.  It was announced last week that a potential drug target has been identified for this coronavirus by a team including the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of California, Riverside.