Sen. Hawley Outlines Phase 4 Relief Plan: Rehire Workers & Bring Supply Chains Back

Friday, April 03, 2020

Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) announced a new proposal for Phase 4 Coronavirus relief legislation to help get Americans back to work and to position the U.S. economy for a comeback. The proposal includes a major initiative to rehire workers now and keep them on payroll throughout this crisis, new measures to bring critical supply chains back to the United States from overseas and encourage domestic production, and reforms to prevent Wall Street crisis profiteering.

In the proposal, Senator Hawley writes:

“As layoffs mount, the time has come for bold action by the federal government to halt the damage to American workers and position the American economy for a comeback once the nation has defeated COVID19. This effort should include a major initiative to rehire workers now—and to keep them on payroll for the duration of this crisis. And it should include new measures to bring critical supply chains back to this country from China and elsewhere and to encourage domestic production.

“The rationale is simple. Workers should not be forced into unemployment because of the government’s health measures prompted by this crisis. Workers should be able to keep their jobs, and be ready to get back to work as soon as practicable.

“This pandemic also exposed a Grand Canyon size fault in our supply chain. We don’t make critical products in America anymore. It’s a threat to our health, our national security and our economy. Americans have long known about this problem. Washington is just waking up to it, and Wall Street was hoping it wouldn’t get caught. It’s time to fix it. We need to invest in America again and protect our people. The goal is simple – If we need it, we should make it.

“If we pursue policies for continuous employment combined with bringing our supply chains back, it will super charge a recovery. Policymakers must act now to ensure that the present crisis is the gateway to a stronger American economy. It’s time to get America ready for a comeback.”

Full text of the proposal is available here and highlights of the proposal are below.

Getting America Back to Work

Rehire America: Senator Hawley’s proposal offers immediate payroll support for the duration of this emergency with no strings attached. No loans, no bank intermediaries, no repayment:

  • A refundable payroll tax rebate covering eighty percent of employer payroll costs applicable up to median wages, including support for rehired workers, with a rehiring bonus.
  • A real-time advance system for providing payroll support immediately to firms.
  • A back to work reinvestment credit for firms to cover costs of any investment necessary to get back off the ground even stronger once this crisis subsides.

These protections should be coupled with additional reforms to promote long-term recovery by bringing back critical supply chains, encouraging domestic production, and preventing crisis profiteering by Wall Street: 

  • Securing Medical Supply Chains: New local content requirements for essential industries like medical supplies and crisis export controls for necessary medical equipment, coupled with liability protections for firms enlisted by the government into emergency production.
  • Promoting Onshoring: Federally backed, low-interest financing for capital expenditures by firms that onshore production this year in response to global supply chain disruptions. 
  • Preventing Crisis Profiteering by Wall Street: Measures to prevent a feeding frenzy by Wall Street on the wounded firms of Main Street including:
    • Reforms to securities law to require immediate disclosure of the accumulation of large stakes of public companies by activist investors before they force layoffs, liquidations, and the raiding of companies’ productive capacities. 
    • Increased antitrust enforcement during the crisis period to prevent anticompetitive behavior from sliding under the radar.
    • New corporate rainy-day savings requirements to ensure companies have a liquidity cushion during future crises and give managers leverage to resist Wall Street demands to take on excess debt to finance shareholder distributions.