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Senate GOP Blocks Emergency Bill Guaranteeing Paid Sick Leave During Pandemic

Amy Pilkington 13 Mar 2020

On March 11, 2020 Democratic Senators attempted to push through an emergency bill addressing Americans' needs for guaranteed paid sick days during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Sadly, as HuffPost has reported Senate GOP leaders have blocked that bill from going forward.

Please note that this news is in regards to the Senate bill only and is unrelated to a similar bill being worked on by Congress.

Senator Patty Murray (Dem, Washington State) pushed to have the bill brought to the floor for a vote immediately.

However, she was blocked by an objection from Senator Lamar Alexander (Rep, Tennessee), which prevented the bill from being voted on.

The bill would have created a federal mandate requiring that all businesses provide 14 days of paid sick leave in the event that a worker is quarantined or stricken with COVID-19.

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Additionally, workers would be guaranteed seven paid sick days in a calendar year.

Giphy | The Hills

This would hopefully limit the need for similar emergency legislation in future health emergencies.

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Alexander argued that a federal mandate with no monetary support from the government would be bad for struggling businesses.

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His objection has squashed this bill and slowed down the aid many US workers may need in the coming days.

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However, the mandate could be included in future coronavirus legislation or an alternative version may receive more bipartisan support.

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Murray said:

"For many of our workers ― restaurant workers, truck drivers, service industry workers ― they may not have an option to take a day off without losing their pay or losing their job. That’s not a choice we should be asking anyone to make in the United States in the 21st century.”

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In a statement following the bill's blocking, Murray expanded on her intentions to keep pushing for emergency measures.

Additionally, she reminded people of the small, important ways that they can help protect themselves and their loved ones while the government works toward a solution.

h/t: HuffPost

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