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Senate Republicans Block Quick Passage Of Emergency Paid Medical Leave Bill

Sen. Patty Murray, a Democratic senator from Washington, urged swift passage of a bill she authored that would have guaranteed 14 days of paid sick leave to every American worker during the coronavirus crisis.

Senate Republicans blocked consideration of the bill, and sent it to committee instead, HuffPost reported.

“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,” Murray said.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) thought paid leave was an idea worth debating over, but blocked a procedural move that would have allowed a quicker vote on Murray’s bill. Instead, it will now be debated on in the Republican-controlled health committee.

The bill would have provided 14 days to workers during any public health crisis, similar to what’s being seen right now with the spread of COVID-19. In addition, workers could accrue an additional 7 days through work performed throughout the year.

Several states have such laws on the book, but not every state does. There’s no federal standard for guaranteed paid medical leave.

Also on Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that he would speak to the nation in prime time later on in the evening. The details of Trump’s speech haven’t been made known yet, but Trump told reporters he plans to discuss “decisions” he has made and will make regarding coronavirus, CNN reported.

“I’ll be making some decisions. I’ve already made some decisions, actually, today, but I’ll be making some other ones that are very important,” Trump said.

In a tweet earlier in the day, Trump said he was “fully prepared to use the full power of the Federal Government to deal with our current challenge of the CoronaVirus!”

Featured image credit: Sebastian Vital/Flickr