Indivisible Actions | What to Tell Your Members of Congress to do About Coronavirus


Make the call to your Members of Congress

Tell them that the third coronavirus package must include vote by mail, direct cash assistance, no unaccountable corporate bailouts, and stronger economic supports for workers and families!


Just the Asks

On March 18, Trump signed the second coronavirus response bill into law. This bill was an important step to provide people with the support we will need as we endure the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. Even as we celebrate this, we have to remember that Trump and his Republican allies pushed to weaken the bill before it passed the House, which will compound the effects of Trump’s moves to actively make us less prepared to confront a pandemic. Congress cannot allow Trump and his lobbyist-stacked administration to hand out money to corporations while leaving families behind.

Fortunately, Congress has already started working on a third coronavirus response package intended to tackle the looming consequences of the outbreak. Decades of Republican efforts to hollow out the middle class  and gut our safety net programs have left millions of people teetering on the edge. With the economy slowing down, Congress urgently has to act to protect families, workers, and low-income people from destitution.

While negotiations are ongoing, we have several areas Congress must consider while crafting this legislation:

  • Safeguarding our democracy
  • Ensuring the health care system can meet the scope of this crisis
  • Providing economic support to families
  • Supporting workers and small businesses
  • Preventing unaccountable corporate bailouts
  • Ensuring all policies include marginalized communities

In keeping with these principles, we think that any effective response to this crisis must include the following three policies (and that they should include each of the items included in the “What needs to go in the coronavirus response bill?” section below):

  1. Nationwide vote by mail, as laid out in the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act.
  2. Direct cash assistance to individuals and families, with strenuous requirements attached to any corporate bailouts.
  3. Universal paid sick days, family leave, and expanded Unemployment Insurance to fill in the gaps from the second coronavirus response bill.

Call your representative and two senators and tell them that the third coronavirus package must include vote by mail, direct cash assistance, no unaccountable corporate bailouts, and stronger economic supports for workers and families!


Call your members of Congress!

Tell them that the third coronavirus package must include vote by mail, direct cash assistance, no unaccountable corporate bailouts, and stronger economic supports for workers and families!


Late in 2019, a new virus began infecting people in Wuhan, China. This virus was identified as a new member of the coronavirus family, which also includes the common cold and SARS, and the disease caused by the virus was named COVID-19 by scientists. As of March 18, 2020, it had infected over 191,000 people worldwide. While COVID-19 clearly poses risks to the health and well-being of people globally, we have a responsibility to ensure that bad actors like Trump, pharmaceutical corporations, and white nationalists don’t seize on this opportunity for their own benefit, as we take swift and smart action to prepare and respond.

Emergencies such as a pandemic are often seized on by authoritarian leaders to expand their own power, at the expense of civil rights and in service of racist narratives intended to keep them in power. Your members of Congress have a responsibility to ensure the US response effectively safeguards public health without falling prey to any of these traps. 

Congress has already passed two legislative packages focused on responding to COVID-19 and its associated economic consequences, and is working on a third package now to stimulate the economy and provide a safety net for people. Your Representative and two Senators need to hear from you to ensure that the third supplemental funding bill puts people first, and doesn’t simply hand out free money for corporate bailouts.

What needs to go in the next coronavirus response bill?

Any legislative response to the COVID-19 outbreak must safeguard our democracy; support workers and families over corporate profits; and address the underlying inequalities that left us so susceptible to a pandemic in the first place. 

Our top priorities for the third coronavirus response bill are:

  1. Nationwide vote by mail, as laid out in the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act. 
  2. Direct cash assistance to individuals and families, with strenuous requirements attached to any corporate bailouts. 
  3. Universal paid sick days, family leave, and expanded Unemployment Insurance to fill in the gaps from the second coronavirus response bill.

In addition to these key priorities, we recommend the following list of policies be included in the third coronavirus response package: 

Safeguarding our democracy 

  • States must expand vote by mail, extend voting deadlines, communicate extensively with voters about date changes, polling closures, or other critical election information
  • States must expand online voter registration
  • The federal government can assist by funding election infrastructure, requiring no-excuse absentee voting in federal elections, and provide additional drop-boxes for ballots in federal buildings and post offices
  • Take action now to ensure that the November election can happen safely as planned and without disenfranchising any voter, even under pandemic conditions.
  • For recommendations related to our elections, see here.

Ensuring the health care system can meet the scope of this crisis

  • Emergency Temporary OSHA Standard to protect frontline workers
  • Higher federal share (FMAP) for state Medicaid programs
  • Non-exclusive licenses for vaccine/treatment
  • Special enrollment period for the exchanges
  • End to surprise billing

Supporting families 

  • Monthly cash payments to individuals and families 
  • Freeze on evictions, foreclosures, repossessions, and utility shutoffs; prohibit debt collection and prevent negative credit reporting
  • Freeze and eliminate student loan payments

Supporting workers and small businesses 

  • Universal paid sick leave, including gig economy workers
  • Expanded Unemployment Insurance
  • Provide low-interest loans and/or grants to affected small businesses

Preventing unaccountable corporate bailouts

  • Any bailout to corporations should provide relief to workers first (maintain payroll) 
  • No taxpayer funds should be used for executive bonuses, stock buy-backs, “golden parachute” payments, or dividends
  • Any company receiving a bailout should be required to increase their minimum wage to $15/hour within a year of the end of this emergency
  • Impose transparency requirements on political spending of companies that take bailout money
  • Set strict lobbying limits on companies that take bailout money to ensure we aren’t funding post-pandemic corporate lobbying efforts
  • Provide a seat for workers on corporate boards
  • Keep all collective bargaining agreements in place

Ensuring policies include marginalized communities

  • Free testing and treatment regardless of immigration status
  • Suspension of all immigration enforcement activities
  • Increase Social Security payments to seniors
  • No additional money for ICE and CBP, no matter what they say!

Listen to Medical Experts, Not Trump’s Campaign

As usual, Trump continues to spread outright lies and disinformation. Throughout his presidency, he’s exploited official White House communications and his personal social media accounts to spread disinformation and propaganda. This situation is no different. While the CDC has consistently warned about the dangers coronavirus could pose to the public, the Trump administration has attempted repeatedly to gloss over the facts in fears that a pandemic could hurt the stock market and ruin Trump’s re-election chances. 

To add insult to injury, Trump picked Vice President Mike Pence to lead the coronavirus response—the same Mike Pence who oversaw Indiana’s catastrophic HIV/AIDS response that resulted in the increase of HIV+ cases across the state. 

That being said, we don’t need to panic—we just need to take smart precautions. If Trump allows medical and public health experts to do their jobs, we can still be prepared for what is to come (see below for information on how we can do that). If you’re wondering how you can prevent the spread of coronavirus or have questions, please refer to the official CDC website—not Trump’s campaign. 

Don’t Listen to Trump’s Racist Fear Mongering 

The Trump administration has used every available opportunity to scapegoat immigrants. We expect that he will manipulate concern about coronavirus to spread racist tropes about immigrants and disease (which have a long and painful history in the US), to further his own white nationalist political agenda rather than safeguarding public health. We saw him spread complete lies about asylum-seekers from Central America ahead of the 2018 election, and are expecting a horrifyingly elevated version of this narrative in the weeks ahead.

While there are many ways this could manifest, some pieces are already clear: in addition to ensuring that harmful provisions aren’t included in the supplemental funding bill, we must protect the ability of all members of our communities to seek the treatment they need. As we get further into this situation, it will be critically important that decisions about quarantines and other restrictions on movement are made based on medical science, not political agendas, and that everyone, regardless of their immigration status, be able to seek diagnosis and treatment without fear of immigration enforcement or other adverse action.