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Chairs DeFazio, Doggett to Corporations: Put Workers First in Economic Recovery

Mar 20, 2020
Press Release
Lead 100 Lawmakers in Call for Corporate Accountability Guardrails in Economic Relief Package

Today, as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to massive layoffs and economic hardship across the United States, U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, and U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, led 100 of their colleagues in urging that any economic relief package for industries affected by the pandemic puts workers—not corporate profits—first and includes strict corporate accountability measures.

“The people hit hardest by the economic impacts of COVID-19 have been our working families,” said Chairman DeFazio. “As Congress works towards a third economic relief package, it is essential that we learn from past mistakes and ensure that our legislation puts them, not CEOs, first.”

“No more bailouts without corporate boundaries,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett. “In any coming bailout, we need to enforce strict limitations on corporations who, in previous crises, have taken care of their shareholders and CEOs while leaving workers behind.”

In 2008, the federal government provided hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street in response to the financial crisis, awarding the financial industry a virtually no-strings-attached bailout. The gains for Wall Street were tremendous, while working families were left behind.  

Twelve years later, Congress is faced again with crafting an economic recovery package for families and industries impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. It is imperative that this time, Congress does not make the same destructive mistakes. Joined by 100 lawmakers, DeFazio and Doggett are insisting that any plan must include appropriate guardrails to protect workers and ensure large corporations put the needs of those workers ahead of their wealthy executives and shareholders.

A copy of the letter is below. For a PDF version of the letter, click here.

 

March 20, 2020

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

 

The Honorable Steny Hoyer
House Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer:

We write to urge that any future legislation considered by the House to provide taxpayer assistance to large corporations put workers first and include essential corporate accountability provisions.

In 2008, the federal government provided hundreds-of-billions to Wall Street to respond to the financial crisis, awarding Wall Street a virtually no-strings-attached bailout. The results for Wall Street were tremendous – a quick return to profitability, large executive compensation packages, major stock buy-back programs, and more.

For working families, the results were disappointing. For years, American families struggled to return to financial stability, and many still have not. Workers lost jobs, hard-earned pensions, benefits and never fully recovered.

There is no doubt that our current crisis is much different than the 2008 financial crisis. Our country is headed toward a recession that will impact everyone from Wall Street’s senior executives to America’s working families.

We fully support your commitment to ensuring any additional emergency response legislation puts relief for working families ahead of any aid to large corporations. To the extent that any direct assistance to particular industries is considered, we seek some accountability rather than a blank check. To that end, we urge that any legislation include appropriate guardrails for those corporations accepting taxpayer funding, including:

  • Workers must come first. Corporations must use federal assistance to maintain their payrolls without demanding concessions on wages or benefits. Workers must be protected in the case of bankruptcy and no funds should be used for anti-union campaigns or to undermine collective bargaining efforts.  
  • Tax dollars must not be used to reward wealthy shareholders and executives. No stock buybacks, dividends, or executive bonuses until federal funds are repaid in full.
  • Cap on senior executive pay. No corporate executives should make more than 50 times the pay of their median worker.
  • Workers must have a seat at the table. Corporate recipients of public assistance must reserve at least one seat on their board for a representative elected by workers.
  • Companies must be held accountable. An oversight authority must be established to ensure corporate compliance with these conditions. The oversight board must include worker representatives. CEOs should personally certify compliance and violations of the terms should trigger criminal penalties and claw-backs of public assistance.
  • Taxpayers must have a stake in the company. Taxpayers should receive equity in return for assistance to ensure that once companies return to fiscal health, the public can benefit from its investment.

 

Sincerely,

 

Peter A. DeFazio

Lloyd Doggett

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Jamie Raskin

Chellie Pingree

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

David N. Cicilline

Deb Haaland

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Marcy Kaptur

Grace F. Napolitano

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Alan Lowenthal

Mark Takano

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Jerrold Nadler

Anthony G. Brown

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Jan Schakowsky

Linda Sanchez

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Tim Ryan

Barbara Lee

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Earl Blumenauer

Mary Gay Scanlon

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Mark Pocan

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Debbie Dingell

Eddie Bernice Johnson

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

 

 

Jesús G. "Chuy" García

Joaquin Castro

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Joe Neguse

Pramila Jayapal

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Tony Cardenas

Veronica Escobar

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Ted W. Lieu

Andy Levin

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Judy Chu

Ro Khanna

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rashida Tlaib

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Raúl M. Grijalva

Rosa DeLauro

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Bonnie Watson Coleman

Bobby L. Rush

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

James P. McGovern

Joe Kennedy

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Jahana Hayes

Ilhan Omar

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Betty McCollum

Alcee L. Hastings

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

Gilbert R. Cisneros

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Mike Doyle

Brendan F. Boyle

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Adriano Espaillat

Brenda L. Lawrence

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

 

 

Joyce Beatty

Wm. Lacy Clay

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Ayanna Pressley

Emanuel Cleaver

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Val Demings

Julia Brownley

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Jared Huffman

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Peter Welch

André Carson

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Gerald E. Connolly

Daniel T. Kildee

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Haley M. Stevens

Katie Porter

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Dina Titus

Joe Courtney

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Angie Craig

Albio Sires

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Donna Shalala

Darren Soto

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

A. Donald McEachin

Marcia L. Fudge

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Danny K. Davis

Nydia M. Velázquez

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

John Garamendi

Stephen Lynch

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Paul Tonko

Eliot L. Engel

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Thomas R. Suozzi

Dwight Evans

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Donald Norcross

Norma J. Torres

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan

John Larson

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Lucille Roybal-Allard

Bill Pascrell, Jr.

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Lisa Blunt Rochester

Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

John Sarbanes

Suzanne Bonamici

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Yvette D. Clarke

Ruben Gallego

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Dave Loebsack

Jimmy Gomez

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Madeleine Dean

Max Rose

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Karen Bass

Brian Higgins

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.

John Yarmuth

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Frank Pallone, Jr.

Grace Meng

Member of Congress

Member of Congress