The U.S. House of Representatives appears to be moving forward with a fifth coronavirus aid measure.
Congress member Kathy Castor, a Democrat from Tampa says it could include new cash payments to Americans.
“The emergency responses so far have been so deep and broad to try to save a lot of our small business owners. To provide some sustenance to folks have had to stay home, and have been furloughed or lost their jobs. I hope we’ll go back and won’t gloss over that because it’s an enormous aid package and people need to understand what’s there for them.
“But in the next package we really want to support our heroes that are out there on the front lines. The police officers, first responders, firefighters. Make sure that our health care workers have the supplies that they need to stay safe. More aid for folks.
“There will probably be another cash assistance payment. That has been a lifeline, especially while the state of Florida’s unemployment system has really turned into a debacle and left people in the lurch on that.
“Those are going to be some of the highlights. And then we’ve got to get domestic manufacturing back in the United States. So we’re looking at some tax credits for domestic supply chains and for companies that will retain their workers.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell has said that he won’t go forward with another bill unless there’s a provision that will prevent employees from suing their employers if their health and lives are at risk during the coronavirus pandemic. Will the House go along with that, putting a shield in place for employers?
“You know that is the opposite of supporting our frontline heroes.
“No. I don’t see the House — it’s not even under discussion among the House Democrats. We had a conference call yesterday, a long conference call that reviewed some of the options and needs for our local communities and that was not even a topic of discussion.”
WMNF asked Rep. Castor how Florida is handling the coronavirus pandemic and the partial reopening that began this week.
“The state response, I think, has been uneven. I was rooting for Gov. DeSantis to be successful in all this and rally the state but it’s been, his performance has been uneven. But my hat’s off to our local leaders, Mayor Jane Castor, Mayor Kriseman, our county commissioners. I think they have been very thoughtful in responding to this epidemic, the pandemic.”
What do you think about the plan to re-open that state? How is that going and what do you anticipate?
“I think following the advice of our public health experts. We still do not have enough testing throughout the community. So I think the slow, very slow and steady reopening.
“There are a lot of our neighbors who understand that because we don’t have widespread testing that they do not feel safe. That’s been heartening that they are also listening to public health experts.
“But I think right now it’s OK to encourage folks to be outside as long as they keep a social distance. That’s what the public health experts say. I think it’s important for people to stay healthy and well and get exercise.
“But be very careful as you’re going back to the office. If there’s a problem in your office you really need to reach out and let folks know if you do not have supplies or they’re not maintaining the appropriate social distance requirements.”
There was a lot of this interview we didn’t have time to put on the air. You can watch the full WMNF interview with Rep. Kathy Castor here:
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