Schumer Pushes Hazard Pay up to $25k for Essential Workers

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that he will propose a hazard pay for essential workers that could add up to $25,000, calling it a “Heroes Fund.”

The New York legislator stressed on a press call on Tuesday that he and other Democrats hope to take care of overlooked essential workers, saying “people not in the medical profession but in essential services: grocery store workers, truck drivers, drug store workers and pharmacists.For these Americans, working for home is not an option. Social distancing is not an option,” per The Hill.

Schumer hopes to get the language into the fourth economic stimulus bill, calling it “one of our very highest priorities.”

Schumer also said the program will be retroactive and that if an essential worker has died, their family will receive benefits.

Schumer has previously floated the idea of giving essential workers hazard pay.

In an April 1 tweet, he wrote, “Our brave frontline workers deserve hazard pay. President Trump TODAY could sign an executive order that would give frontline federal workers 25% hazard pay. He needs to do this NOW. If he doesn’t, we’ll do everything we can to make sure they get the hazard pay they deserve.”

He reiterated that idea in an interview with NPR on April 1:

“These nurses, these doctors, health care workers, they’re risking their lives. I’m sure when they walk to work or take the subway to work, they’re wondering, will I catch this virus? But they’re like the firefighters and police officers and construction workers were heroes of 9/11; these are our heroes today. And they should get hazard pay.”

The third coronavirus bill that made it through Washington, D.C., took days of nonstop negotiating and Congress is not expected to return until late April. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested that he will support a fourth coronavirus bill but said that he is not “rushing” it.