As the federal government and Congress work to support the national recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19), Rep. Rashida Tlaib is pushing for the creation of a new civil service corps to help with aiding the most vulnerable communities across the country.
The organization would be called the Emergency First Responders Corps. made of civilian members, instead of law enforcement or emergency medical personnel, as the name might suggest. Under Tlaib’s plan the corps would be funded by her sweeping stimulus bill proposed earlier this month that would order the minting of two $1 trillion dollar coins to fund $2,000 recurring monthly payments to Americans on pre-paid debit cards, much like WIC or SNAP benefits, for the duration of the pandemic. The payments would be cut in half for a year after the declared end of the pandemic which she admitted Friday, could be difficult to assess.
“That’s the big question. I think it’s going to hopefully be the experts. It’s going to be [Dr. Anthony Facui] and others that have been looking at this and are who we call our infectious disease experts,” Tlaib said.
Under the proposal, EFRC members would be tasked with canvasing the low-income areas of the country to ensure, the Automatic Boost to Communities Act pass, low-income communities received their debit cards. Tlaib’s district, MI-13, is the third poorest district in the country. She also envisioned the Corps would check on elderly, homeless and domestic abuse victims while out.
“I think of first responder corps as similar to Americorps, to what Alternative for Girls has done right here in our community,” Tlaib said referring to a Detroit group for women in crisis. “There’s also this appeal across the country, Republicans and Democrats show support for this because there is this wanting to help and connect with people and help the during this time.”
The ABC Act however faces a steep uphill battle. In the past weeks, both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) and the White House have signaled they were not interested in another stimulus check. Earlier this week President Donald Trump floated the idea of a payroll tax cut instead of another stimulus payment directly to US Citizens.
When asked about whether there was a place for EFRC without the monthly payments like those that have been met with opposition. Tlaib said the two were tied together intrinsically.
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