Any coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress should:
1) provide checks directly to workers
2) use established programs and agencies to surge support to needy Americans
3) offer low-interest loans to businesses
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) March 16, 2020
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Stop the presses. Sen. Tom Cotton continues to make sense and sound empathetic toward the less fortunate in his contribution to relief measures in the time of coronavirus.
The Tweet above is a summary of a longer essay on shortcomings he sees in the House bill worked out by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Steve Mnuchin and his ideas for a way to speed aid more simply and quickly to people who need it.
The House bill is well-intentioned and has good features, he says. But some of the process is cumbersome and he doubts, for example, the benefit of tax credits to pay the cost of employers who cover sick pay if the company has no income to report. Fair points. Also:
Unfortunately, the bill’s central effort to help Americans is designed to achieve policy goals that have been overwhelmed by events. The bill is wrapped around the axle of paid sick leave — for a limited number of American workers, no less — in an effort to maintain wage continuity. But workers who need help the most won’t benefit from the House bill’s provision for paid sick leave — in particular, those who are laid off, had their hours reduced, work in the gig economy, or who find that their employers have gone out of business.
But wait. There’s more. He almost starts sounding like an old-school Democrat:
I propose a better plan: cash to workers and loans to businesses. Keep it simple, make it fast. We should:
1) send cash directly to low- and middle-income Americans to help them weather the coming storm, in the form of tax rebates;
2) adjust the criteria for programs like Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and surge funding to the states, so checks can make it to needy families quickly;
3) and offer low-interest loans to businesses that need them, so that those same Americans still have jobs to return to once the crisis has subsided.
Has a good virus infected Tom Cotton? Whatever. Credit where due.
And credit to him as well for not putting the Wuhan/China label on the disease (in the Tweet at least, though not in article), particularly given our own leader’s failures in moving quickly with measures to slow the spread. It is the world’s virus.