Pennsylvania lawmakers propose large payment plan for front-line workers battling spread of COVID-19

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — When you think of those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, you often think of nurses, doctors, and paramedics.

But grocery store workers and truck drivers are also critical to keep things open. That’s why they would be included in a new proposal from Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey for a $25,000 bonus.

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The plan is simple: Every front-line worker who makes less than $200,000 would get a $25,000 check – the equivalent of a $13 per hour pay raise.

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey and Senate Democrats are pushing the new concept for those fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, whether they’re helping patients in hospitals or keeping grocery shelves stocked.

The plan also calls for a $15,000 incentive to attract additional essential workers like nurses and paramedics. They're plans he hopes will get bi-partisan support.

“We've got to make sure that we have the soldiers on the battlefield, and I think that's the way we should look at this. These are Americans fighting a war,” Casey said.

The push to help those fighting the coronavirus pandemic is also happening in Harrisburg.

McKeesport Rep. Austin Davis is introducing his own bill that would provide personal protective equipment, mental health services and childcare subsidies to medical workers.

He also supports Casey’s payment plan.

“The least we can do is to ensure they have the tools and equipment they need and the pay they deserve in being supported,” said Davis.

Nurses process a sample for COVID-19 after a patient was screened at an appointment-only, drive-up clinic.
Nurses process a sample for COVID-19 after a patient was screened at an appointment-only, drive-up clinic. (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)