Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Pinpoints The Key To COVID-19 Relief

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from HuffPost

Emily Peck | 13 January 2021

There’s one key step Congress could take to help the millions of women struggling to care for children at home due to school and day care closures, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) told HuffPost: pass paid sick and family leave in the next COVID-19 relief package.

Millions of women have left the workforce since the start of the pandemic, and this could stem the tide.

“This is an idea whose time has not only come, but one that is an elegant solution to the epidemic we’re in right now,” said Gillibrand, who has long advocated for paid leave.

Gillibrand, along with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), sent a letter to the incoming Biden administration and congressional leaders on Wednesday, urging them to prioritize paid leave.

Emergency paid leave provisions passed in Congress with bipartisan support in March, but the benefits expired at the end of the year. And those measures only covered workers at some small businesses. The U.S. is among the few developed countries that do not mandate paid time off to sick workers.

In their letter, the lawmakers pressed President-elect Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to extend that leave and expand it to cover more workers.

“We need people who are sick to be able to afford to stay home in order to curb the spread of the virus, and to keep their jobs to be able to provide for their families,” they wrote.

HuffPost spoke with Gillibrand on Wednesday about paid leave, how the Senate can balance COVID-19 relief and impeachment, and various other crises facing the new administration.