Contact: Shin Inouye, [email protected], 202.869.0398

WASHINGTON – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on the passage of the third Congressional COVID-19 relief package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act:

“Lawmakers must protect and support public health, a functioning and inclusive economy, and a strong democracy. This bill takes important steps to do just that. Though far from perfect, it is a substantial improvement from the draft initially offered by Leader McConnell and includes strong provisions.

“For example, working people and their families, public health and medical institutions, essential infrastructure, and students all receive crucial support. Conversely, the bill rejects an unchecked corporate bailout. The bill also nearly triples the original proposal’s funding for election assistance to the states so they can prepare for 2020 elections. This outcome was in large part due to the advocacy of the civil rights community. Now, states must enact substantive reforms ahead of primaries ― and the general election― to ensure the right to vote is not impeded.

“But this relief package is just a down payment. We will continue to press for additional resources and solutions to help marginalized communities; healthcare workers and those most vulnerable in the pandemic, including incarcerated people; people with disabilities; immigrant communities, and those who can’t afford access to broadband or telephone services.

“Congress is not done with its work to respond to this unprecedented public health crisis. As they continue to enact measures to help, lawmakers must support all people and continue to tackle the structural racism and barriers to opportunity that are so deeply embedded in our society and are exacerbated by this crisis. We will be standing guard to make sure they do.”


The Leadership Conference calls on Congress to include in the next COVID-19 relief package:

  • Substantially more funding for states to prepare for 2020 elections including expanding voter registration, in-person early voting, no-excuse absentee voting by mail, voter education, and safe in-person voting on election day.
  • More relief and critical protections for the most marginalized communities, including people with disabilities, older people, people of color, and immigrants.
  • Ensuring all people, including immigrants, have access to free COVID-19 testing and treatment.
  • Extension of work permits for DACA and TPS recipients and other immigrant communities.
  • Extension of ITIN cash payment for all immigrants.
  • Humane solutions for people who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated; their families; and people working in jails and prisons.
  • Relief to help make broadband and telephone services more affordable and available to those in need.
  • Debt cancellation for student loan holders to limit harm to the next generation.
  • Additional support for families and schools to remove barriers to remote education for students with disabilities, English learners, and low-income students who are disproportionately students of color.
  • Additional support for schools and communities to ensure that students can return to school safely.
  • More protections to ensure people do not lose their homes or credit as a result of the economic fallout of the crisis.
  • Extension of paid leave to all working people, without exemptions.
  • Further protections to prevent exposure of frontline workers to COVID-19.
  • Structural reform of unemployment insurance to shore up the system to meet the challenges of an economic recession and recovery.
  • Additional nutrition assistance and elimination of bans for people with conviction histories.
  • Additional funding for childcare providers.
  • Protections against unlawful surveillance by law enforcement due to infection.
  • Stronger bankruptcy protections for working people.
  • More stringent executive compensation (golden parachute) oversight.
  • Ensure collective bargaining agreements extend to those who take government loans.
  • Protect healthcare workers by putting in place the OSHA standards found in the House bill.
  • Ensure that local communities have the resources they need to respond to hate incidents and hate crimes.
  • Prevent and remove ideological riders like the Hyde Amendment.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit