There are so many important questions that Presidential debate moderators should ask candidates in 2020. Chief among them must be questions centered on how to advance justice so workers can care for themselves and their loved ones, without jeopardizing their economic security.
Chris Wallace, the moderator for the first Presidential Debate on September 29th, has already announced several topics including COVID-19, the economy, the Supreme Court, and race relations in America. Many of these issues directly intersect with the needs of working families and their economic security—and we urge prioritizing the following 5 key questions:
1. Paid Sick Time
When the pandemic struck, millions of Americans lacked even a single paid sick day to care for themselves or their families. Without this essential tool, too many workers were faced with the impossible choice between going to work sick and risking their families’ economic security–putting not only their own health, but public health at risk. COVID-19 has placed into sharp relief the need for all workers–including the essential workers too often left out–to have the permanent paid sick time they need to stop the spread of disease and protect their families’ health.
Candidates must answer the question: In the face of a pandemic, do you support a federal right to paid sick time like the Healthy Families Act?
2. Paid Family and Medical Leave
Each day, we learn more about the long recovery and the lasting health impacts facing many of those who survive COVID-19–needs that will require time away from work for those recovering and for the loved ones caring for them. And the health pressures and staggering economic consequences of the pandemic have only made it all the more essential for all workers to have the time they need to address their own or a loved one’s serious health needs, bond with a new child, or respond to deployment. It is past time for the United States to invest in our families and our economy and guarantee paid, job-protected paid family and medical leave for all workers.
Candidates must answer the question: As president, how will you ensure paid family and medical leave for all?
3. Pregnant Workers’ Rights & Maternal Health
The U.S. House of Representatives just passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) by an overwhelming majority, including every Democrat and a majority of Republican representatives. The PWFA would ensure pregnant workers are not pushed out of their jobs or terminated because they need a modest accommodation to maintain their health and their economic security. This critical measure is necessary to help address the maternal and infant health crisis in our country, including shameful racial disparities. The legislative progress comes after many years of advocacy with A Better Balance leading the way! The bill has not only robust bipartisan support, but support from civil rights groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and businesses around the country, because it is a critical workforce development and retention issue for employers.
Candidates must answer the question: Do you support equal opportunity for pregnant workers and passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act?
4. Child Care
Although the childcare crisis in this country is nothing new, it has been amplified and laid bare by the pandemic, where many childcare centers and schools across the country have been shuttered–oftentimes permanently. Without childcare, parents cannot work, children cannot learn, and our entire economy and country suffers; when we let the childcare sector crumble, it’s essential workforce, including a disproportionate number of women of color, suffer Estimates show that the childcare industry needs at least $50 billion to sustain the child care sectors, support working families, and reinforce the critical role child care providers play in the nation’s ability to recover from the pandemic.
Candidates must answer the question: What will you do to address the childcare crisis in America?
5. The Supreme Court
Many Americans are urging the Senate to wait to confirm Justice Ginsburg’s replacement to the Supreme Court until Americans vote in the next election and their choice for President can make that selection. With so many of our rights at stake, including access to health care for millions, workers’ rights, reproductive rights, and voting rights, this nomination is too important to rush to judgment. ,
Candidates must answer the question: In the midst of a global pandemic, a new Supreme Court Justice’s vote on the Court will likely have enormous consequences for Americans’ access to comprehensive healthcare. With just weeks left to election days and many votes already cast, do you believe the American people should decide who will nominate a new Supreme Court Justice?
Join us on social media to call on Chris Wallace to ask the candidates these crucial questions.