Topic

Coronavirus Epidemic

4,829 petitions

Update posted 2 hours ago

Petition to Joseph R. Biden, Miguel Cardona, Richard Cordray, James Kvaal, Toby Merrill

President Biden: Cancel Federal Student Loans, and Return Bankruptcy Rights to the Rest.

Follow us on Twitter! Student Loans can be cancelled with nothing needed from the Treasury, and nothing added to the national debt. We call on President Biden to cancel all federally owned loans by executive order.  We also call on both the President and Congress to return standard bankruptcy protections to ALL student loans, by executive order and through legislation. During the pandemic, Trillions in stimulus (including PPP loans that don't need to be repaid) require money to be drawn from the Treasury, and add to the national debt. The President can, however, cancel $1.3 Trillion in federally owned student loans with nothing needed from the Treasury, and nothing added to the national debt. He can also order the Department of Education to stop opposing student loan borrowers in bankruptcy court. Before the pandemic,  45.4 million people were holding federal student loans, and 80% were either unable to pay, or were paying but their balances were going up.  Today, student debt in over one-third of U.S. states exceeds their total annual budgets. Older people outnumber younger people with student debt, and they owe 3 times more, despite having borrowed far less.  The default rate for 2004 students is 40%, but they borrowed less than a third of what is being borrowed today.   The default rate for current borrowers will likely exceed 75%.  This is roughly four times higher than the default rate for sub-prime home mortgages.  By all rational metrics, this is now a catastrophically failed, and nationally threatening lending system.  We do not have to take this. Cancelling these loans will greatly stimulate the economy.  Analysts estimate that cancelling student loans will increase GDP by over $100 billion for the next ten years, but they fail to account for increased borrowing capacity that will enable people to buy homes, start businesses, etc.  This would be an additional $1 Trillion (roughly) in direct spending in the near/medium term.   This is not a partisan problem.  More than half of all student loan borrowers identify as being politically independent, or republican. "Red" states are being hurt significantly worse than "Blue" states.    Claims that cancelling loans will largely benefit people who don't need it are wrong.  80% of all borrowers were "underwater" on their loans before the pandemic. All borrowers were determined to be "financially needy" as a condition for the loans. More than 40% never graduated. Most borrowers are over the age of 35, and owe far more than younger people despite having borrowed far less.  The most successful student loan borrowers tend to refinance their loans out of the federal system, so they won't benefit. Rest assured, the taxpayers will be fine. The federal government has been profiting greatly on these loans for many years, and the Department of Education has even been making a profit on defaulted loans for decades.  While it is not known how much of the $1.6 Trillion federal portfolio is unpaid principal, it is likely a small fraction of the total. On balance, the taxpayers will have very little- if any- net loss when these loans are cancelled. *** THIS PETITION NEEDS MORE THAN JUST YOUR SIGNATURE TO SUCCEED!  PLEASE DO YOUR PART TO HELP IT GROW: ***   Do the past week's Daily Actions.   Join your state chapter group, and our Facebook Group. Tell your local media to report on the petition. Give it a boost.   We can do this!  Check out the recent media we've been featured in! Petition created by Alan Collinge, founder of StudentLoanJustice.Org and author of The Student Loan Scam (Beacon Press).  Contact

Student Loan Justice
1,068,050 supporters
Update posted 3 hours ago

Petition to Carolyn B. Maloney, Terry Cavanaugh, Brad Hoylman

Don't let Fox News call itself `news`

This petition asks that the FCC revoke Fox News' license until 'News' is removed from its branding, or until it revises its practices to conform with standards of broadcast journalism. The undersigned understand why the FCC does not want to limit protected speech, but demand the FCC enforce its mandate to protect the public interest as concerns broadcasting. The FCC states that "broadcast licensees may not intentionally distort the news," and that "rigging or slanting the news is a most heinous act against the public interest." So why is a cable TV channel allowed to lie, distort, and promote solely Republican causes under the banner of "news"? Since John Kerry's unsuccessful 2004 presidential bid, Fox News has had a clear right-wing agenda, and it has become steadily more biased since Obama's 2008 election. In the Trump era, it has been documented repeatedly (by Politico, by the Washington Post, by Newsweek) how the president repeats talking points from Fox, which in turn broadcasts pro-Trump messaging. Fox News employees join the Trump White House and vice versa; the line between the two is gone. We are witnessing for the first time on American soil televised propaganda, in the style of  fascist and authoritarian regimes. If you haven't noticed this on your own already, it's fully explained by investigative journalist Jane Mayer here.  According to the FCC website "there are two issues related to broadcast journalism that are subject to Commission regulation: hoaxes and news distortion." As measured by Politifact, Fox News is "Mixed factually and borderline Questionable based on poor sourcing and the spreading of conspiracy theories that later must be retracted after being widely shared." This constant stream of misinformation has had a direct impact on the the last several elections, essentially defrauding the nation. In April 2020 their science-denial and misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic is literally killing people. We say, enough, this is madness. Fox News is incompatible with democracy and public health. Right now this country is suffering an epidemic of ignorance. Trump is only a symptom; Fox News is a leading cause, a political operation masquerading as a journalism outlet. Enforcing our broadcasting rules is part of the cure. To be delivered to: FCC Enforcement Chief Rosemary Harold, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and the Office of NY State District 27, where Fox News has its main office and facilities.

Chris Monroe
14,801 supporters
This petition won 2 years ago

Petition to West Lafayette Community School Corporation

Petition for Proactive E-Learning at West Lafayette Schools

We are petitioning for your support for our request of E-Learning as a proactive alternative option by West Lafayette Schools *before* the coronavirus infection starts to spread. E-LEARNING doesn't mean the school will be closed! Instead, we are asking for our schools to provide this option to the families who want to keep their children at home and still have their attendance counted. Most importantly, it will also benefit those students who choose to attend school by providing larger personal space and more sanitation resources and therefore decreasing the risk of infection. By providing E-LEARNING, West Lafayette Schools will have a better chance of preventing the spread of the the COVID-19 virus amongst the students, teachers, and staff members. We implore that the district take proactive actions by not waiting until confirmed cases occur and by offering this valuable option of E-Learning. This international COVID-19 epidemic has become a national and local public health crisis that is spreading at an increasingly accelerated rate. Currently, all Avon Community Schools have been closed after a student tested positive and a second student started showing symptoms of the coronavirus. Nearby Purdue University will move courses to online after spring break.  To avoid further spread of COVID-19 within our community, now is the time for WLCSC to offer online classes. At this crucial moment, it is of utmost importance that we ensure our children and teachers/staff remain safe and healthy by taking timely and proactive preventative actions to create and maintain an uncontaminated environment. Our West Lafayette school community deserves all practical and tangible measures taken proactively to prevent any possibility of community spread. Please sign this petition and make E-LEARNING as an option available ASAP, instead of waiting for a confirmed case!

J W
355 supporters
Started 7 days ago

Petition to Office of the State Inspector General, Michael C. Westfall, State Inspector General, Virginia Governor, Tim Kaine, VEC Leadership, JLARC , Pat-Levy Lavelle, Brenda Castaneda, Commissioner Ellen Marie Hess, Joyce Fogg, Megan Healey, Len Bennett, Amy Austin, Steve Fischbach, AG Mark Herring, Delegate Dawn Adams, Senator Ghazala Hashmi, Delegate Kirk Cox, Delegate Ken Plum, Senator Mark Peake, Delegate Lamont Bagby, Senator Adam Ebbin, CBS6 Problem Solvers

Investigate the Virginia Employment Commission’s Leadership for Fraud, Waste and Abuse

As certain sectors of the economy came grinding to a halt during the COVID19 pandemic, thousands of businesses across Virginia faced the tough decision of reducing staff or closing their doors entirely. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Virginians faced unemployment, the vast majority through no fault of their own.  At the beginning of the pandemic, each state was faced with an unprecedented number of newly filed unemployment claims. Understandably, many state employment agencies struggled to process claims in a timely manner and deliver payments to qualified applicants. After the initial chaos, most states successfully redirected resources and updated policies aimed at getting benefits out to qualified applicants as quickly as possible. This was not the case in Virginia. The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) is responsible for providing benefits for unemployed Virginians who meet the state's strict eligibility requirements. The weekly benefits provided are only a small fraction of the salary that individuals had been receiving at their previous places of work. The average weekly benefit amount in Virginia is far below most other states in the country and the maximum amount a recipient can receive is barely above minimum wage. But for many, the money is absolutely critical for survival. Without it, many are unable to feed their family, pay for their children's doctor visits, or keep their electricity on.  Before the pandemic, the Virginia Employment Commission was already one of the worst performing state employment agencies in the country. The agency was understaffed to meet pre-pandemic workloads and running on a 35 year old software system when Covid hit. Eight years prior, the state government funded a massive IT upgrade that was intended to be implemented immediately but that upgrade never happened. Instead, the antiquated, highly inefficient system relied heavily on paper, mailed communication, and manual data entry. During the height of the pandemic, Virginia ranked 49th in the nation for resolving disputed unemployment claims, taking 163 days on average. Many of the issues in dispute were incorrectly ruled initially or the result of simple clerical errors by VEC staff or former employers. As a result, thousands of Virginians who qualified for benefits did not receive that money for 5 months or more. Despite these issues, the management at the VEC failed to increase staff until over a year into the pandemic despite falling behind and failing to meet federally-imposed guidelines each state must meet for processing claims and determining eligibility. After facing external pressures from a class action lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Legal Aid Justice Center, the VEC felt they had no other option but to pay benefits out to all applicants who had been waiting longer than 21 days for a decision on their claim. As a result of the VEC's inability to process claims on time from the outset, the agency doled out over $1 billion in incorrect payments. Many of those payments were distributed to Virginians who believed they met eligibility requirements for receiving unemployment insurance. After all, they began to receive weekly payments after submitting an application and received no communication from the VEC that indicated they were not eligible. As a result, tens of thousands of ineligible recipients received weekly payments for months on end. These ineligible recipients of payments from the VEC behaved in much the same way as qualified recipients, focusing on applying and interviewing for jobs that paid well and were a good fit. If ineligible recipients had known they were unqualified for benefits, most would have behaved differently during the time they received payments. Instead of focusing on applying to jobs that paid similar wages to their previous positions, they would have accepted the first job available to them, simply as a means of paying bills and putting food on the table. Because the VEC failed to provide a decision on claimants' eligibility for the program in a timely manner and instead sent money out to unqualified recipients, thousands of already struggling Virginians were instructed to pay back the money they received in error. Often, the amount owed exceeded $10,000 and was to be paid back with interest in 30 days time.  As of December 2021, thousands of qualified Virginians have not received a single payment of unemployment insurance, despite many losing their jobs over 4 months ago. In fact, it is common for applicants to wait over a year to receive their first payment. While waiting for payments, qualified claimants often suffer devastating financial hardships as a result of the negligence from the management at the VEC. Despite lengthy wait times, Most qualified unemployment claimants will eventually receive the payments that are owed to them. Unfortunately, for many, it will be too late. Thousands of formerly productive and successful workers now find themselves behind on bills, at risk of losing their home, facing bankruptcy, and even facing homelessness. It will take years for them to get back on track with bills or fix their credit and older claimants might even be forced into delaying retirement. Unlike the Virginians who were ordered to pay back payments made in error with interest, the VEC does not face similar repercussions for denying people their deserved benefits for months on end. No interest will be paid on benefits due to claimants for months and sometimes even years before they receive payment. Plea to State Legislators and the OSIG State legislators and the Office of the State Inspector General, it is time to act. The management of the VEC should be investigated and held responsible for the mental, physical and financial damages that thousands of Virginians have faced as a result of their malicious negligence. While VEC Commissioner Ellen Marie Hess raked in over $164,000 last year for running one of the least successful state agencies in the country, thousands of struggling Virginians did not receive a penny of what was owed to them.  In addition to the obvious issues plaguing the VEC, the unprecedented level of fraud occurring at the VEC needs further investigation and oversight. Many in the media have theorized that the level of rampant fraud at the VEC could only occur as a result of an inside job. Regardless of the cause, the management was undoubtedly aware of the fraud much earlier than they admitted. Disturbingly, they took no actions to inform unemployment recipients that their data had been stolen or investigate how the breach occurred and how to stop it from occurring in the future. In the meantime, unemployment recipients who have been defrauded had their payments stopped suddenly and without warning. While the fraud is investigated and the claimant's identity is verified, payments are paused for months on end while a deputy adjudicates the matter, a process that should take a few minutes at most. These victims of unemployment fraud are punished for an action that occured through no fault of their own.  This fraudulent activity and any actions taken after the fact needs to be investigated. It is unclear what management knew about the cause of the fraud, when they knew it, and what, if any actions were taken to cover it up. It is very possible the actions of management were both malicious and criminal. Both Commissioner Hess and Secretary Healey have made deceptive and contradictory statements to the media about the cause of rampant fraud, often blaming claimants and taking no accountability.  Plea to Pro Bono Attorneys, Legal Aid Groups and Civil Rights Advocates In the past two years, thousands of Virginians have had their livelihoods ripped from them and now face extreme economic hardship and devastating financial implications that will follow them for years to come if no one steps up to help. The class action lawsuit filed earlier this year had a profound impact in holding the VEC's feet to fire. However, since the judge's imposed September deadline to adjudicate at least 95% of claims that had been stuck on hold, the agency has fallen behind again. The backlog is growing and the agency is not working at the same pace as they were in the summer months when they were forced to perform and meet specific milestones. Quite frankly, the progress made as a result of the lawsuit, was still far below an acceptable standard for performance. The VEC is reporting to various media outlets that their new online system has solved all of the agencies' problems. In reality, the new system has caused more problems than it has solved. Claimants were unable to file weekly claims or reach the support line for two full weeks while the system was launching even though they were told it would only be a few days. The new system is also slow and buggy and is barely an improvement from the old system. Additionally, since launch, the system has gone down for several days each week unexpectedly and without warning for "maintenance". Many claimants are unable to access the new system and customer support has not been trained appropriately on how to help them.  Unemployed claimants still need help desperately. They have nowhere to turn and legal recourse seems to be the only thing that pushes the management at the VEC to do what is right or at the very least, what is expected of them. 

Abigail A
47 supporters