Tom Cotton calls for “cash stipends to affected workers” and national “shutdown” effort

In a new series of tweets, Senator Tom Cotton calls for a national shutdown with only absolute essential work continuing along with “cash stipends to affected workers.”

Cotton tweeted:

The time has come for extraordinary measures to combat the Chinese coronavirus. What seems extreme today will seem obvious tomorrow.

Two weeks ago, Italians were merrily sipping wine and coffee at bars and restaurants. Today, elderly Italians are denied care at hospitals and instead administered last rites because their health-care system is collapsing.

I understand these extraordinary measures will impose many hardships, but if we take them now, we can shorten the risk to Americans’ health and the economic hardships.

I’m working on legislation to get cash stipends to affected workers and their families so they can buy food and pay the bills during this crisis, plus help to small and mid-sized businesses weather the storm. Now is the time to avoid Italy’s fate. Here are some needful steps:

1) Stop all but essential activity. Call it what you want—a shutdown, quarantine, curfew, whatever. But only absolutely essential work should continue: groceries, pharmacies, supply transport, health care, electricity, water, sanitation, etc. Everyone else should stay home.

2) Shut down all but essential government agencies & services. At federal, state, and local levels, officials working to arrest the virus’s spread and mitigate its economic harm (and other essential services like food aid and VA care) must continue working. No one else should.

3) The military must prepare for defense support of civil authorities, especially at hospitals, nursing homes, etc., & do whatever is needed to increase our capacity to treat patients. Our military plans for exactly this kind of contingency. Our doctors and nurses may need them.

As Dr. Anthony Fauci said yesterday, “we’ll be thankful that we overreacted” if we arrest the spread of the virus, preserve hospital capacity, and save lives.

Senator Cotton (R-Arkansas) spoke on the Senate floor outlining a path forward for Congress’ coronavirus response.


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