Senator Lamar Alexander just screeched the brakes on Senator Patty Murray's effort to get an emergency paid sick leave bill onto the floor of the Senate, according to HuffPost.
Murray tried to get the bill straight to the Senate floor, bypassing the health committee, noting that many people who don’t have paid leave through their jobs will inevitably miss work due to being sick or quarantined in the coming weeks. Guaranteed paid leave was important both for public health and the good of the broader economy, she argued.
“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,” Murray said. “That’s not a choice we should be asking anyone to make in the United States in the 21st century.”
While agreeing that paid sick leave is a good idea, Senator Alexander balked at the idea of a mandate for employers to provide it, arguing that the feds should pay for it, once again socializing corporate America's risk of loss.
“Employees are struggling, our employers are struggling, and it’s not a cure for the coronavirus to put a big new expensive federal mandate on employers who are struggling in the middle of this matter,” Alexander argued.
Here's an idea: Give them a tax credit next year for it. But we don't have time to have some grand ideological discussion about whether or not low-paid employees should get paid sick leave. This virus is highly contagious and containment will rely upon everyone following best practices and self-quarantine.
Honestly, these people fail to see the forest for the trees. It's infuriating.