Sen. Schumer proposes $25,000 pay increase for essential workers

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In this image from video, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks on the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

NEW YORK (AP/WIVB) — Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling for a COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” to provide up to $25,000 in hazard pay for frontline health care and service industry workers.

This premium pay increase would be designed to retain, reward and recruit essential frontline workers in upstate New York.

Bigger corporations would be expected to foot the bill for the pay hike, he said, while the federal government would provide funding for smaller firms.

Schumer declared the pay hike for nurses, truck drivers grocery store clerks and others the “highest priority.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday she wants another round of direct payments to Americans and is pressing for greater help for state and local governments.

Any votes in Congress remain a logistical conundrum. The House and Senate adjourned for most of the month, as part of strict stay-at-home orders from public health officials to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus.

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