The IATSE legal department is blasting Senate Republicans for rushing through the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett while refusing to take action to help struggling workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It apparently was far more important to rush through a Supreme Court nomination than it is to tend to the needs of working families, particularly IATSE members,” the union’s legal department said in a statement Wednesday.
“In a mere thirty days, the Senate, under the leadership of Mitch McConnell, confirmed Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the United States Supreme Court,” the statement says. “Justice Barrett is the first Supreme Court Justice to be confirmed to the Court without bipartisan support since 1869. As a member of the Court, Justice Barrett will serve for life or until she chooses to retire. The speed with which this judicial vacancy was filled is nearly unprecedented. That it occurred during the pendency of a presidential election with over 50 million votes having been cast so far in early voting with a week remaining in the voting period is without parallel. With the confirmation of Justice Barrett, there are no vacancies on federal appellate courts. All vacancies on the Supreme Court and in all eleven federal circuit courts of appeals are filled.
“In startling contrast to the stunning alacrity with which it acted on Justice Barrett’s dash to the Court, the Senate for over five months has shamelessly blocked passage of the HEROES Act, which would address in meaningful ways the needs of IATSE members in the United States as we continue to navigate the trials of the COVID-19 pandemic. The House of Representatives passed the first version of this Act in May. This proposed legislation would extend the $600 pandemic unemployment assistance payments that were so vital to IATSE families; would provide immediately lump-sum direct stimulus payments to workers; would preserve health benefits, and would protect workers’ employment and many other needs. The HEROES Act would provide much-needed support to IATSE members while the industries in which we work slowly begin to restart.”
The House passed its version of the COVID stimulus package in May, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been negotiating for months over its size. The administration has offered anywhere from $1.8 trillion to $1.9 trillion, depending on reports. The Democrats have held fast to $2.2 trillion after coming down from $3 trillion.
The bill won’t be taken up in the Senate until a compromise is reached, which both parties have now said likely won’t happen before the November 3 election.