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Senator proposes creation of ‘Health Force’ to get the unemployed back to work

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ One Democratic senator says she may have part of a solution for the growing number of unemployment claims related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, says there’s a way to protect the nation’s economy and get people back to work.

“The solution is to have a workforce – a healthcare workforce,” Gillibrand said.

Gillibrand is pushing to establish a “Health Force” which will train nearly a million people in the next two months to help with nationwide testing, contact tracing and vaccinating.

She says as millions of Americans face unemployment, her bill would shift those workers into public health roles for the time being, “to help with what’s happening in our hospitals and in our community health centers.”

Rep. Tom Reed, R-New York, supports he plan, saying there’s a huge demand for workers who can perform testing.

“The folks on the front lines, who are going to have to do the swabs, are going to have to have some limited medical training in order to do that testing appropriately and accurately,” Reed said.

But other Republicans, like Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, say the focus should be on restoring workers to their previous jobs.

“Let’s keep in mind that the nearly 26 million people who were in unemployment were happy and working just eight weeks ago,” Tillis said. “Let’s make sure that those jobs get filled and continue to work on filling healthcare professions.”

But Gillibrand says she plans to keep pushing for her legislation to be included in the next coronavirus economy relief package.

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