Washington, DC — Larry Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues the following statement:
“We applaud the senators who stood in clear opposition to Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s so-called ‘skinny’ coronavirus relief bill. The mere mention of a ‘skinny’ response to this crisis is an affront to the American people, and lawmakers were right to reject it.
“As of today, 191,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and that number shows no immediate sign of slowing. At its peak, 22 million jobs were lost to the pandemic, and Americans continue to apply for unemployment benefits at historically high rates. Meanwhile, the transportation workers we represent across all sectors continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic, paying for government inaction with their health and their lives.
“Despite this, the proposal offered by Majority Leader McConnell did absolutely nothing to ensure the wellbeing of the transportation workers who are seeing us through this crisis. By failing to extend the CARES Act Payroll Support Program, his plan would have left hundreds of thousands of aviation workers in jeopardy. He offered no emergency relief funding for transit agencies, passenger rail, or intercity and commuter bus services, which are facing significant service cuts and layoffs of their own as they continue to struggle with reductions to local revenues. And emergency funding that is needed to maintain maritime and seaport commerce was left off the table.
“We are in the middle of this crisis because of a failure of leadership, and Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s proposal would have only perpetuated that failure. The transportation sector is critical to our economic recovery and failing this industry and the workers who have put their lives on the line to keep it moving fails the wellbeing of the entire nation. Senate Republicans and the White House must now come back to the negotiating table to find a real response to this crisis.”