Dems Want to Combat Coronavirus By Mandating Paid Sick Leave for Stalking Victims?

The House bill seems to be more focused on leveraging political points than fighting coronavirus. Republicans can relate.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) on Thursday addressed the House's coronavirus appropriations bill, a measure that she says will put "families first." With its blatantly partisan insertions, however, a more apt description would be that it puts Democrats' policy priorities first—some of which have nothing to do with addressing a global pandemic.

The major tenets of the bill are as follows: establish free coronavirus testing; mandate private businesses provide additional paid sick leave; expand unemployment insurance eligibility; strengthen food security initiatives for senior citizens, children, pregnant women, and food banks; increase funding for Medicaid; and bolster unemployment benefits, among other provisions. 

While the total cost of the bill is still unclear, it would cost, at a minimum, tens of billions of dollars. The price tag associated with the food portion alone is $1.3 billion; unemployment benefits follow closely behind at $1 billion. 

But perhaps the most outrageous part of the proposed legislation is the government-mandated paid sick leave program, which, as the bill currently reads, would be permanent. Should the bill pass, businesses would be federally required to provide seven days of paid sick leave—with or without a pandemic. This provision has little relevance to addressing the coronavirus and much more to do with leveraging the crisis to prop up policies popular within the Democratic Party.

That couldn't be more clear in the legislation's stalking component. The text specifies that, should someone need to miss work due to an instance pertaining to stalking, domestic violence, or sexual assault, or should an employee need to help a friend going through such an event, a private business would be federally required to provide paid sick leave. 

What does that have to do with coronavirus?

The bill further carves out an additional 14 days of required paid sick leave in a public health emergency, although in that case, the Department of the Treasury—a.k.a. taxpayers—would foot the bill. Only one provision of the paid sick leave portion pertains to coronavirus specifically: It establishes a federal program reimbursed via Social Security, which would compensate those who contract coronavirus (as well as their caretakers) with two-thirds of their wages.

Even the latter provision is more fantasy than reality. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–Calif.) noted that, if set up through Social Security, such a program would take six months to establish.

Democrats aren't the only ones using this moment to further their party's political profile. Take Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Ark.), for example, who issued a press release this morning to avow revenge on "those who inflicted [coronavirus] on the world." He later clarified that he meant China, though what he will do to punish the country for getting sick is still ambiguous.

And President Donald Trump, during a news conference this morning, gave a similarly cryptic declaration. "The question is: how many people will die?" Trump asked. "And I don't want people dying. That's what I'm all about."

Trump isn't about people dying, Pelosi is about "putting families first." I'm sure both of them would like to stem this crisis, but right now they seem all too concerned with scoring political points.

NEXT: Is a 1% Case Fatality Rate for COVID-19 Bad News or Good News?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Trump is scoring points by saying he doesn’t want people to die from this pandemic?

    What could he say to *avoid* allegations of point-scoring? “I hope Democrats and Republicans in the swing states die off in equal numbers so as not to affect the election”?

    1. LMAO

    2. It’s actually a brilliant response for Trump to get out ahead of the Dems on this one. Now they are required to say that the want people dying so they don’t come across as agreeing with him.

  2. Ok, who’s homework did Billy steal?

  3. “”The House bill seems to be more focused on leveraging political points than fighting coronavirus.””

    And that’s why it’s likely to not be voted on in the Senate.

    1. “Senator Fuckface doesn’t want to help families. See? The proof is right in front of your eyes!”

      1. I hate Senator Fuckface.

    2. The Senate will pass the bill, but with amendments. Then it will send the bill back to the House.

  4. As a Koch / Reason libertarian, I’ll take mandatory paid sick leave over travel bans any day.


  5. Who cares, it’s all funny money anyway. Just pieces of paper with no intrinsic value except what the next guy is willing to pay. I say pump up that debt for another few decades.

    1. Except when the next guy is throwing around paper (that represents human development/product/labor) it makes YOUR labor have “no intrinsic value”.

  6. Bottom line, the pols in DC don’t give a flying fuck about you. I would think that has been obvious for centuries, but still some people persist in believing that Big Government is a good nanny.

    1. You say yer life’s a bum deal
      ‘N yer up against the wall…
      Well, people, you ain’t even got no kinda
      Deal at all
      Cause what they do
      In Washington
      They just takes care of NUMBER ONE
      An’ NUMBER ONE ain’t YOU
      You ain’t even NUMBER TWO

      Frank Zappa – The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing – 1978

      1. The Persuasions do a great cover of this song.

      2. From Camelot – “it’s not the earth the meek inherit, it’s the dirt . . .”

  7. Even the latter provision is more fantasy than reality. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D–Calif.) noted that […]

    Did McCarthy switch parties, or does Reason need an editor?

    1. He saw it on CNN.

    2. Maybe he saw R-Calif and figured that couldn’t possibly be right.

    3. Seriously, which do you think?

      The way things have been heading at this website, you think the writers have an Edit Button either?

      1. Everybody employed by Reason is wildly overpaid

  8. ” or should an employee need to help a friend going through such an event”

    Yo boss, my main bro has a crazy ex wife that’s stalking him. I need time off to go to the beach, er, be with him to help him through this horrible time in his life.


    1. How about:

      “Boss, I need to stalk my ex wife today. I’m gonna need to take a paid sick day.”

      1. “Excuse me sir, I’m going to stalk my wife today and she needs paid time off as a result. Cool, thanks.”

        “Honey, we can go to the regatta!”

        1. November 1st; Boss I gotta stalk my ex. She lives in SoCal. I’ll see ya in 6months!”

  9. The coronavirus is starting to affect the economy, but that’s not enough. What we really need is a bill that could completely DESTROY the economy.

    1. Isn’t what the Green New Deal was for?

  10. Never. Let. A. Crisis. Go. To. Waste. Even if you have to invent it.

      1. I thought the donk motto was “No dub too big, no rubber band too small.”

  11. The major tenets of the bill are as follows: establish free coronavirus testing; mandate private businesses provide additional paid sick leave; expand unemployment insurance eligibility; strengthen food security initiatives for senior citizens, children, pregnant women, and food banks; increase funding for Medicaid; and bolster unemployment benefits, among other provisions.

    And you can be sure there are 10,000 disparate *minor* tenets.

    Until there is a, say, Constitutional amendment mandating focused legislation this crap will continue.

    1. Nothing Reason ”””””libertarians””””” love more than central bankers suppressing interest rates.

  12. Never let a crisis go to waste.

  13. Obviously, this is a weak response to the coronavirus threat. At least if you’re listening to Bernie Sanders. This is why we need all free shit for absolutely everything – free healthcare, free drugs, free money, free jobs, free homes, free private jets, free every fucking thing plus free fucking home delivery of it all because of the coronavirus.

    1. Free automated home delivery. A Silicon Valley Visionary with a totes hot powerpoint deck said it could be so.

  14. I can only surmise that Reason’s contributors must primarily work from home, because otherwise I don’t know why anyone would write a half-baked complaint that it’s inappropriate to mandate paid medical leave during a global pandemic.

    “This is something Democrats have always called for!” Yes, there’s a reason Democrats have long wanted to put these kinds of policies into place. You’re seeing a great example of it, now. Glad you’re catching up.

    1. That is exactly the author’s point. It is not mandating paid medical leave during a global pandemic. It is mandating permanently available paid medical leave for things such as help a friend suffering emotional distress. Obviously those are two very different things. Glad you’re catching up.

      1. As usual the media is slamming the GOP for scoffing at a paid work leave due to coronavirus while totally leaving out the stalking part.

        1. Feel free to explain how a payroll tax cut helps us weather this crisis any better.

          1. The payroll tax holiday would immediately increase paychecks for every working American by 7.65%, rapidly putting money into hands of the middle class – faster than any other mechanism. The rapidity is a meaningful difference.

            The cost is significantly less. It is a payroll adjustment. Easy AF to do. No need for a bureaucracy to administer it.

            Team D is proposing a grab-bag of spending that really doesn’t address the issue; namely, how do we mitigate the worst economic effects and help prevent the economy from just shutting down. Left to their own devices, people will do things with their money – save it, spend it, pay down debt, whatever – that will help the economy a lot faster than any government administered program.

            1. Isn’t the payroll tax what the company pays?

      2. If it’s the right policy, it’s the right policy, regardless of whether exigent circumstances have provided the political momentum to actually implement it.

        The argument that we should defer a beneficial, permanent change of policy until some other day (when Republicans can just torpedo it through maneuvering and bad faith argument) or until some other crisis compels action is specious on its face.

        1. Why not mandate cappuccino machines in every workplace, free transport to/from work, $500k bonuses across the board, annual promotions, and puppies in every office? All good stuff, right?

          1. If cappuccino machines in every workplace could help slow the spread of a global pandemic, enabling our health infrastructure to handle severe cases when and as they arise (rather than being overwhelmed and forced to triage), and if $500k bonuses could improve economic productivity across the board, by giving employees leeway to decide to stay home when they’re sick (rather than having to go in to work, where they infect others), then by all means.

            1. Why no puppies? How dare you!!

    2. It’s not merely “inappropriate”, it’s IMMORAL to require person A to pay Person B beyond what A and B previously agreed to. It’s both THEFT at gunpoint, and it violates the Constitution’s protection of Freedom to Contract.

      Now, if you don’t care about Freedom then, sure, it’s not a problem.

  15. The democrats are a rotting corpse. Pelosi is a deplorable old cunt. Etc.

  16. It is hard to imagine what will happen in Pelosi’s state. The California budget is approx 80% based on Capital Gains taxes. The top progressive braintrusts of the country. Even if you take out all the top 10 percenters that have fled the state, its a time bomb going off in this market.
    Boys and girls, this is what happens when you rely on progressive tax rates to fund all of the free shit and vote for progressives.

    1. If a Donkey is elected, bailout. If Trump, F California.

  17. Hmmm… So they are just stealing more and shoveling money around. Why am I not surprised.

  18. Federal politicians are not trying to stop the spread of the virus, they are trying to use the spread of the virus to get re-elected. Pathetic, but hey, we put these people in office.

  19. What a mess. Everyone gets the government some people deserve.

    1. Beware of those that have [WE] foundation delusions going on in their heads.

  20. DOW 21,200. Was Bernie elected?

    1. That’s a good one. Benghazi!!!

  21. Is it too late to bring back the stocks in the public squares where miscreants would be locked into uncomfortable positions and subjected to humiliation and scorn by passersby? I’ve long believed this would be the best approach to dealing with the entirety of Congress.

  22. I am coming to the realization that this virus rots the brain. Even before you come in contact with a carrier.

  23. I am making 7 to 6 dollar par hour at home on laptop ,, This is make happy But now i am Working 4 hour Dailly and make 40 dollar Easily .. This is enough for me to happy my ?? i am making this so u can do it Easily…. Read more  

  24. The information is very special, I will have to follow you, the information you provide is very real. Cookeo connect plus

  25. Do you need a loan
    pay your bills or do you want to get off your any debts if yes apply for a loan today and get one via: or whatsapp him +12138065264

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.