Useful Idiots: Jimmy Dore on Bernie Sanders and the CARES Act

In this week’s quarantine episode of our Useful Idiots podcast, hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper are joined by Jimmy Dore, comedian and podcast extraordinaire.

Matt and Katie explore the psyche of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who Katie believes might be a beta. “He’s always being out-alpha’d by Andrew Cuomo,” says Katie.

“He’s physically quite a big dude. He’s very tall. But he seems to always be intimidated by everybody who’s in his presence,” says Matt. Katie dubs this anti-Napoleon conundrum the “de Blasio complex.”

Our duo believes this analysis helps explain New York City’s handling of aid, or lack-thereof, for homeless New Yorkers during COVID-19.

Matt and Katie discuss Matt’s recent piece on Democrats abandoning the cause of civil liberties. They also break down the recent development of police departments using drones to monitor civilians regarding cooperation with social distancing, and a trend in Texas school districts to arm employees in an effort to deter school shootings.

Jimmy Dore of The Jimmy Dore Show joins our hosts to share blistering remarks about Bernie Sanders, as well as his thoughts on how the Senator and former presidential candidate hasn’t leveraged his movement to push the Democratic agenda left, especially when it comes to the CARES Act.

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“We have a bunch of progressives who we thought were going to fight for us who are rolling over at nuclear speed inexplicably, without getting a goddamn thing back. At least Mitch McConnell, you know what he’s getting. What the fuck is the squad, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren getting? They’re getting nothing except invitations to parties,” exclaims Dore.

Dore goes on to lambast Sanders and other progressive politicians for making symbolic appeals rather than affecting policy.

“There’s no heroes here. There’s nothing but bad guys who are doing evil things to our country while trying to distract us with online news shows with Cardi B. That’s what Bernie Sanders has turned into, a late night talk show host who’s completely ineffective as a Senator, and tweets out platitudes and will not use the power of his movement to get anything done. The reason why you don’t drop out of a presidential campaign when half the states haven’t voted is because you’re supposed to be leading a movement, you fucking jagoff,” says Dore.

You can find the Useful Idiots podcast on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Amazon Prime Air Seen Surging Fivefold to 200 Jets, Rivaling UPS

Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Air fleet will grow to about 200 planes — up from 42 now — in the next seven or eight years, creating an air cargo service that could rival United Parcel Service Inc., according to a study.

“At a time when many other airlines are downsizing due to the pandemic, Amazon’s push for faster and cheaper at-home delivery is moving ahead on an ambitious timetable,” said the report issued Friday by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute of Metropolitan Development. “Amazon Air’s robust expansion makes it one of the biggest stories in the air cargo industry in years.”

Amazon unveiled the air cargo service in 2016, prompting speculation that it would ultimately create an overnight delivery network to rival delivery partners UPS and FedEx Corp.

Prime Air operates out of smaller regional airports close to its warehouses around the country, helping Amazon quickly move inventory to accommodate one- and two-day delivery. For that reason, some analysts have dismissed Amazon as a potential competitor to UPS and FedEx since it can only offer limited service to a small number of destinations and seems designed to handle Amazon packages.

Key to its ability to take on the entrenched players, the report says, is Amazon’s new $1.5 billion facility near Cincinnati that will accommodate up to 100 planes and as many as 200 flights each day. Amazon’s lack of a central hub has kept it from competing in the overnight delivery services offered by UPS and FedEx, which have more planes flying to more destinations.

“The massive investment being made in a large hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, however, could change everything,” the report says. “This hub appears to be the linchpin to Amazon’s efforts to develop a comprehensive array of domestic delivery services.”

A separate report released Monday noted Amazon’s lack of a central hub in concluding it was not a competitive threat to FedEx, which has a hub in Memphis, or UPS, which has one in Louisville. FedEx’s network can offer 9,000 daily flight connections, UPS’ 5,500 and Amazon Air just 363, according to the report from Bernstein.

“The viability of a commercial overnight offering from Amazon remains very limited,” Bernstein analyst David Vernon wrote. “Offering a low cost on shipping to a small number of markets every so often will never be a serious competitive threat.”

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Defense Secretary Esper says coronavirus vaccine 'absolutely' possible by end of 2020

Trump: We have many companies far along on potential vaccine, cure

President Trump says the goal is to administer millions of coronavirus vaccines quickly to the American people.

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Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday doubled down on his statement that a coronavirus vaccine could be developed and distributed at scale by the end of 2020.

"Absolutely it's possible," Esper said during an interview on the "Today" show. "I've spoken to our medical experts about it, we are completely confident we can get this done."

STOCKS JUMP ON BANKING M&A TALK, CORONAVIRUS VACCINE PROGRESS

"We will deliver on-time the vaccines," he added.

President Trump unveiled an ambitious $10 billion program last week to develop, produce and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year, with the goal of making "at least" 300 million doses to administer to Americans.

"We will deliver, by the end of this year, a vaccine at scale to treat the American people and our partners abroad," Esper said during the White House event last week in the Rose Garden.

TRUMP: CORONAVIRUS VACCINE COULD COME BY THE END OF THE YEAR

The National Institutes of Health has said that one or two possible vaccine candidates could be ready for large-scale testing by July, with several other likely to follow. But the NIH director, Francis Collins, cautioned that a successful vaccine by January is a "very bold plan…a stretch goal if there ever was one."

Globally, there are about a dozen vaccine candidates in the first stages of testing or about to begin. Some of the notable ones that have garnered attention in recent weeks include those created by biotech company Moderna and a different one from Oxford University.

Collins told the Associated Press during an interview that the current tests are "looking pretty good," but noted that "until you put it into the real world and check it out you don’t really know. You can’t skip over that really, really hard part of testing this in thousands and thousands of people.”

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The tests are necessary to determine the correct dosage and ensure there are no negative side effects.

The U.S. has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, totaling nearly 1.6 million. As of Friday morning, the virus had killed 94,729 individuals in the nation, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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Airbus A320 Jet With 107 Aboard Crashes in Pakistan

An Airbus SE jet operated by Pakistan International Airlines crashed with 107 people on board as it approached its destination of Karachi.

Flight PK 8303, which took off from Lahore, was carrying 99 passengers and 8 crew, Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority said. The country’s army tweeted that troops had reached the site to conduct relief-and-rescue efforts. The A320 narrow-body jet was built in 2004, data from Flightradar24 showed.

It’s the second plane crash for the Pakistani carrier in less than four years. The airline’s chairman resigned in late 2016, less than a week after the crash of an ATR 42 turboprop killed 47 people. Friday’s crash happened on the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, when many Pakistanis return home to celebrate.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted he’s in touch with the airline’s chief executive officer and that an investigation would be conducted soon.

A CAA representative couldn’t immediately confirm the number of casualties and said the authority is waiting for more information. An Airbus representative said the company is in touch with the airline to gather more information and declined to comment further.

Like other carriers worldwide, PIA struggled with plane groundings in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company, which hasn’t made a profit since 2004, asked the government for financial support in March.

But signs of a recovery were in sight as the country began emerging from a two-month lockdown. Pakistan recently began resuming domestic flights last week, starting with 20% of capacity.

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Vulnerable pensioner, 76, fears ‘being taken to court’ over £13 council tax arrears

Council tax debt has become a real issue in light of the coronavirus epidemic. According to research conducted by the three organisations, over two million people are behind on their council tax bills due to the virus.

READ MORE

  • Mortgage holiday: FCA set out new extension proposals

This could be made worse by council tax enforcement measures likely to be restarted soon.

These measures could put already struggling residents under further financial hardship.

On top of this, councils have been known to utilise their powers to bring in bailiffs for debt collection with 1.4million council tax debts being passed on to bailiffs in 2018/19.

If this trend continues, it will add further costs and fees onto people’s problems.

While the government have introduced a temporary ban on bailiff visits, the three charities fear that there may be a sudden escalation of enforcement when the ban lifts.

With these troubling finding on council tax debt, they called on the government to take the following measures:

  • Introduce a ‘pre-action protocol’ for councils to follow before beginning to enforce council tax recovery. This would include a requirement to set up an affordable repayment plan.
  • Encourage councils to collect debts over more than one year by changing collection rate targets.
  • Stop people becoming automatically liable for their entire annual bill when they fall behind on instalments.
  • Provide more hardship funding to councils to reduce council tax arrears accrued as a result of Covid-19.

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The report put together on this estimates that there is approximately £3billion owed in unpaid council tax.

While this is a worrying figure and many will likely sympathise with underfunded councils, the repercussions of aggressive recuperation methods can be illustrated by examining individual cases.

Marie, 76, usually paid her council tax via Paypoint at the Post Office.

However, she was forced to shield due to her age and health issues, which include managing a chronic lung condition.

Despite the direness of her situation, her local council contacted her regarding council tax arrears of a mere £13 and threatened her with a liability order.

She was eventually informed that she may be “taken to court” which frightened her due to all of the lockdown measures.

The report highlighted that when inability orders begin to be issued again following the brief ban from the state, she will likely face enforcement action.

It’s because of situations like these that have resulted in all three of the charities writing to Simon Clarke, the Minister for local government, outlining their recommendations.

The leaders of all three charities provided the following comments on what they’d like to see changed from the government:

READ MORE

  • Income tax warning: Rates may be raised

Dame Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice

“Coronavirus has caused huge financial uncertainty for local councils. But this pressure must not trigger a wave of aggressive debt collection against people who are themselves struggling to pay their bills.

“Aggressive collection drives vulnerable people further into debt and is inefficient. Councils get back just 27p for every £1 of debt passed on to bailiffs.

“The government must urgently change the rules so local authorities can collect council tax debts fairly and sustainably. Otherwise millions of people could face the prospect of heavy-handed bailiff enforcement on bills they can’t afford to pay.”

Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust

“There can be no going back to ‘business as usual’ for council tax collection.

“With millions at risk of falling behind with their council tax bills, the government should move quickly to address the weaknesses in the way local authorities collect arrears from people in debt – to ensure that this is fair, proportionate and does not make bad financial situations worse.

“At the same time, councils need more funding for both existing Council Tax Support schemes and to support residents in hardship in other ways.

“This needs to be put in place right away, so that local authorities can play their part in supporting the nation’s financial recovery from the outbreak.”

Phil Andrew, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity

“Council tax is often one of the bills that households experiencing financial difficulty struggle to pay, yet enforcement of it is harsher and more punitive than most other forms of debt.

“Particularly this early in the Council Tax year, if people miss a payment and become liable to repay the full amount, this is a worry.

“The Government needs to take steps both to support councils who will understandably be worried about their funding, but also to require them to adopt fair and compassionate approaches to residents who fall into arrears as a result of the current situation.”

In response to the report, a spoksperson from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the following: “

“Council tax plays an important part in funding frontline services in the coronavirus response but we expect councils to be sympathetic to those in genuine hardship.

“We’ve introduced a £500 million hardship fund that builds on local support schemes by further reducing the council tax bills of some of the most vulnerable households by up to £150.

“We’ve also changed the law to protect households by banning enforcement visits from bailiffs at residential premises for the duration of the pandemic in line with public health guidance.”

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Samsung releases an OUTDOOR 4K TV called 'The Terrace' with 'rain-proof soundbar' for your garden

SAMSUNG has unveiled a water-resistant "outdoor" TV designed to live in your garden.

The 4K telly has boosted brightness – and even comes with a rugged rain-proof soundbar.

It's called the Samsung Terrace, and features a whopping 65-inch QLED display.

Samsung promises more than 2,000 nits of brightness – an iPhone 11 reaches around 625 nits, by comparison.

That's so you can view the telly outside on a bright sunny day without having the screen completely washed out by light.

And the TV is IP55-certified, which means it's capable of withstanding water and dust.

Interestingly, Samsung may not be entirely confident in the water-resistance.

IP55 isn't the highest level of waterproofing, and all of Samsung's promotional materials show the TV with some kind of roof overhead.

Still, with an overhang above, an IP55 TV should easily survive some wind-swept drizzle.

The TV requires a single power lead, so you may need to hook it up to an extension cable.

You'll also need to mount the TV as it's designed to work without a base.

It's got loads of premium features, including a wide viewing angle, a 4K Ultra HD resolution display, and 3 HDMI ports on the back.


Samsung Terrace – the geeky bits

Here's the full spec list…

  • Solid Metal Design
  • Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels
  • Picture Engine: Quantum Processor 4K
  • Dolby Audio
  • WiFi
  • Colour: Titan Black
  • HDR: Yes
  • Sound Output (RMS): 20W
  • Screen Sizes: 65-inch / 75-inch
  • HDMI: 3x ports
  • USB: 1x port
  • Ethernet: 1x port

It's also got "ambient mode", which lets you use the TV as a virtual wallpaper to match its surroundings – or as a showcase for some digital art.

The TV is only available in the US and Canada right now, but will roll out to other regions globally later this year.

Sadly, it's extremely expensive: you'll pay $4,999.99 for the 65-inch model.

And if you opt for the larger 75-inch version, the cost rises to a staggering $6,499.99.

The Samsung Terrace is available to buy from today.

  • Samsung Terrace (65-inch) 4K HDR TV for $4,999.99 – buy here

In other news, Samsung recently released a "tactical edition" Galaxy S20 phone with a beefy case and "stealth mode".

The design of Samsung's latest smartphone reportedly leaked online this week.

And, a huge Google Chrome update reveals if your passwords have been hacked.

Would you put this telly in your garden? Let us know in the comments!

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Mortgage holiday: FCA set out new extension proposals today – full details revealed

Mortgage holidays were among the first support measures set forward by Rishi Sunak. Today, the FCA has set out proposals which outline the potential options firms will be required to provide customers coming to an end of a payment holiday, as well as those who are yet to request one.

READ MORE

  • Mortgage tips: Halifax give advice on what to do post lockdown

According to the announcement, the FCA are proposing that for customers yet to request a payment holiday, the time frame for applying should be extended to October 31 2020.

On top of this, the FCA are calling for lenders to extend payment holidays by a further three months for customers still struggling.

Christopher Woolard, the Interim Chief Executive at the FCA, made the following comments with the announcement: “Our expectations are clear – anyone who continues to need help should get help from their lender.

“We expect firms to work with customers on the best options available for them, paying particular attention to the needs of their vulnerable customers, and to provide information on where to access help and advice.

READ: Mortgage: The first set of payment holidays will end next month 

‘Where consumers can afford to re-start mortgage payments, it is in their best interests to do so.

“But where they can’t, a range of further support will be available.

“People who are struggling and have not had a payment holiday, will continue to be able to apply until 31 October.”

If the proposals are confirmed, the FCA expects the following to occur:

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  [INSIGHT]

  • Customers who can afford to return to full repayment should do so in their best interests – at the end of a payment holiday, firms should contact their customers to find out if they can resume payments and if so, agree a plan on how the missed payments will be repaid.
  • Anyone who continues to need help gets help – lenders should continue to support customers who have already had a payment holiday where they need further help. Firms are expected to engage with their customers and find out what they can re-pay and, for those who remain in temporary financial difficulty, offer further support. As part of this firms should consider a further three-month payment holiday.
  • Extending the time the scheme is available to people who may be impacted at a later date – customers that have not yet had a payment holiday and experiencing financial difficulty will be able to request one until October 31 2020.
  • Keeping a roof over people’s head during a public health crisis – the current ban on repossessions of homes will be continued to October 31 2020. This will ensure people are able to comply with the government’s policy to self-isolate if they need to.
  • Payment holidays and partial payment holidays offered under this guidance should not have a negative impact on credit files. However, consumers should remember that credit files aren’t the only source of information which lenders can use to assess creditworthiness.

READ MORE

  • Mortgage scams: Financial expert highlights the most worrying scams

The FCA detailed that they are currently welcoming comments on the proposals.

They will be reviewing this until 5pm on May 26 and they expect to finalise the guidance shortly afterwards.

It is also highlighted that this guidance only applies to mortgages.

The proposals will not apply to consumer credit products which is covered by separate guidance which will be updated “in due course”.

The announcement came out early this morning but it has already caught the attention of organisations within the field.

Robin Fieth, the Chief Executive of the Building Societies Association (BSA), commented on eh proposals: “Mortgage payment holidays will continue to be available until October 31 for those who have not had one.

“We are pleased that there will be no automatic blanket extension to existing payment holidays as we do not believe extending payment holidays will be in the best interests of most borrowers, although individual extensions remain an option which may be right for some.

“Possession is always a last resort for lenders and with the extension of the repossessions moratorium, homeowners should also be reassured that they are secure in their own homes.

“Lenders will be contacting all borrowers with a repayment holiday before it comes to an end to lay out potential next steps and the support that is available.

“Any borrower with concerns is encouraged to get in touch with their lender sooner rather than later.”

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Netflix is automatically cancelling 'inactive' accounts even if you're still paying for it – how to avoid being deleted

NETFLIX is going to start automatically cancelling "inactive" accounts – even if you're still paying for it.

It means forgetful users who didn't end their subscriptions won't be charged forevermore.

A forgotten Netflix subscription can quickly rack up, too.

The top plan costs £12/$16 a month, which comes to £144/$192 over the course of a year.

So from this week, Netflix will send out alerts asking users if they want to keep subscribing.

The notifications will appear over email or through the app for any paying subscribers who haven't watched in a year or more.

If you don't confirm that you want to keep subscribing, your plan will be automatically cancelled.

"At Netflix, the last thing we want is people paying for something they're not using," said Netflix's Eddy Wu.

"So we're asking everyone who has not watched anything on Netflix for a year since they joined to confirm they want to keep their membership.

"And we'll do the same for anyone who has stopped watching for more than two years."

Netflix recommended TVs

These are the TV models that Netflix official recommends for a "superior experience"…

Panasonic HX750

  • HX800
  • HX810
  • HX820
  • HX830
  • HX850
  • HX880
  • HX900
  • HX940
  • HX970 series

Samsung QLED 8K / QLED 4K / Lifestyle TVs

  • Q950TS
  • Q900TS
  • Q800T
  • Q90T
  • Q80T
  • Q70T
  • The Frame
  • The Serif

Sony BRAVIA

  • X80H(XH80)
  • XH81
  • X95H(XH95)
  • Z8H(ZH8)
  • Z9H series
  • A8H(A8) / A9S(A9) series

The good news is that signing back up is easier next time around.

If you cancel your account and then rejoin within 10 months, your account will still "remember" its own details.

That means you'll have the same favourites, profiles, viewing preferences and account details.

Netflix says that these inactive accounts represent "less than half of 1%" of its overall member base – around a few hundred thousand users.

And it says the loss has already been factored into its financial guidance, so investors don't need to panic.

"In the meantime, we hope this new approach saves people some hard-earned cash," Eddy added.

In other news, the Netflix Party app lets you watch movies in real-time with pals.

Netflix has vowed a crackdown on users who share logins with pals.

And here's a simple guide to Netflix parental controls.

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at [email protected]

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Hong Kong Activists Urge Protests Against New China Security Law

Democracy advocates called for protests against sweeping national security legislation China introduced Friday, as authorities in Beijing vowed to end what they called a “defenseless” posture due to “those trying to sow trouble.”

Legislation slated for passage in the National People’s Congress in Beijing would help complete Hong Kong’s obligation to pass laws curbing acts of treason, secession, sedition and subversion, NPC Vice Chairman Wang Chen told lawmakers Friday. The measure would also seek to counter terrorism and foreign interference in Hong Kong, Wang said.

The announcement on national security legislation prompted calls for protests and a spike in Hong Kong residents downloading VPN software that helps mask internet usage. U.S. President Donald Trump, when asked about China’s moves, pledged he would respond “very strongly.”

Pro-democracy lawmakers planned to march to the Chinese government’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong to express opposition to the measure, which was expected pass the rubber-stamp parliament by May 28. Activists urged additional protests against Beijing-backed legislation, including a bill that would criminalize disrespecting China’s national anthem, on Sunday and Wednesday.

Civil Human Rights Front convenor Jimmy Sham, whose group organized historic marches last year that turned out hundreds of thousands of protesters, told reporters he expected to call another huge rally. He didn’t disclose further details.

The Hong Kong government would be required to implement the legislation “as soon as possible,” Wang said. The bill would allow for the establishment of entities to enforce its provisions. It would also affirm Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s obligation to administer national security education in the special administrative region and require her to submit regular reports.

For more on China’s legislative session:
  • China Will Improve Hong Kong’s Security Laws, Premier Li Says
  • China Abandons Hard Growth Target, Shifts Stimulus Focus to Jobs
  • China Sees Slowest Defense Budget Growth Since at Least 1991
  • Hong Kong Traders Brace for Renewed Turmoil on Security Law Risk

“The increasingly notable national security risks in the HKSAR have become a prominent problem,” Xinhua said, citing the document. “Law-based and forceful measures must be taken to prevent, stop and punish such activities.”

Hong Kong’s stocks headed for their worst loss since the global financial crisis Friday. The MSCI Hong Kong Index fell as much as 6.6%, which would be its biggest slump on a closing basis since October 2008.

Hong Kong Stocks Sink Most Since 2008 on Security Law Concern

Earlier, Premier Li Keqiang pledged to “establish sound legal systems and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security” in Hong Kong and in the neighboring region of Macau.

Although Hong Kong is constitutionally required to pass national security laws by Article 23 of the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution, successive governments have failed to pass them — with one effort in 2003 resulting in widespread street demonstrations. This new legal strategy could potentially allow authorities to skip the local legislative process, although the mechanics of how that would work remained unclear.

The move sets up a potential election-year showdown with Trump, who has come under pressure in Washington to reconsider the special trading status before the city’s return to Chinese rule under a promise to maintain its liberal financial and political structure. On Thursday, Trump warned that the U.S. would respond to any move to curtail protests and democratic movements in Hong Kong.

The legislation would still require several procedural steps including approval by the NPC’s decision-making Standing Committee, which could come as early as next month, the South China Morning Post reported. The move comes before citywide elections in September in which opposition members hoped to gain an unprecedented majority of the Legislative Council.

After Virus Lull, What’s Next in Hong Kong’s Protests: QuickTake

Danny Gittings, an academic who wrote the “Introduction to the Hong Kong Basic Law,” said a chief executive could only implement such laws by proclamation if the wording is identical to the Chinese national law. The anthem measure, which was similarly imposed in 2017, still hasn’t been passed by the Legislative Council.

“Even if it’s not a law enforceable in Hong Kong, it could still have a strong symbolic impact,” Gittings said.

— With assistance by Dandan Li, Karen Leigh, and Sofia Horta e Costa

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Democrats Propose Federal Jobs Program For Those Unemployed By Coronavirus

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal initiative established a series of government programs and agencies that put thousands of Americans back to work, building large-scale infrastructure and conservation projects.

On Thursday, Senate Democrats proposed a similar program designed to employ those who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic, which this week numbered more than 38 million people.

The Jobs to Fight COVID-19 Act of 2020, introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, would give states and localities $100 billion in grants to hire and train newly unemployed workers to perform pandemic response work, including contact tracing, surveillance, mitigation and cleaning services.

“With nearly 40 million people unemployed, we need solutions that meet the scale of the problem,” Schatz said in a statement. “Our bill will put people back to work and provide the workforce we need to stop the spread of the coronavirus and help us safely reopen.”

Senators who co-sponsored the measure included Democrats Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Contact tracing is a critical tool in fighting highly infectious diseases. It’s been used to fight other viruses, including Ebola. Countries such as South Korea have used it and other surveillance methods to bring their coronavirus caseloads close to zero.

Without federal guidance on contact tracing, states have pushed forward with their own plans to hire armies of contact tracers in an effort to curb coronavirus spread.

California is planning on fielding a force of 10,000 state employees to track those who have been infected with the virus, for example. Other states — such as Washington, West Virginia, Iowa, North Dakota and Rhode Island — are using National Guard personnel to trace contacts.

Still, not every state government has the resources to marshal huge cadres of people dedicated to tracking the spread of coronavirus. Many states and localities are already facing severe shortages in tax revenue because of stalled economies, a problem that is threatening essential services such as police, fire and sanitation.

The idea of a federal jobs program on the scale of those seen during the Great Depression has barely been discussed in Washington, D.C. Congress has instead focused on other measures to provide relief to Americans ― such as increased unemployment benefits, payroll support and direct checks from the federal government.

Billionaire businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been one of the most prominent voices calling on the government to create a program like the one that Democrats proposed on Thursday. His tweets pushing the idea caught the attention of freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“Totally agree,” the New York Democrat tweeted in response on Sunday. “It’s time for a Federal Jobs Guarantee.”

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