McConnell Can Start by Supporting the U.S. House’s $2,000 Stimulus Check Booster Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Another 787,000 workers filed for unemployment last week, joining the more than ten million Americans who remain without work in the Trump recession. It’s the latest economic fallout of the pandemic the Trump administration gave up on – a health crisis mismanaged from the start that has cost the lives of over 337,000 in the U.S. and claims thousands more each day. Badly squeezed families, small businesses and local governments have waited for months for adequate assistance from Washington. What they got instead was ‘stimulus light’ which — at the insistence of the McConnell-led Senate — failed to provide enough relief for hurting workers as it porked up handouts for rich special interests. Relentless high unemployment makes clear the new Congress needs to act immediately on additional relief measures. Yet, McConnell has already set a callous tone by blocking a strongly bipartisan bill passed in the U.S. House this week to boost stimulus checks to $2,000, an effort even supported by Donald Trump.
“Before heading home on a taxpayer-paid vacation, Mitch McConnell insisted that the bare minimum be done for the millions of families fearing hunger and homelessness – while giving big businesses more tax breaks they didn’t need,” said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Accountable.US. “The aid passed this week is at best a down payment for the real relief the new Congress must bring for millions of families and small businesses in communities of color that are running on economic fumes. What Trump’s allies in Congress never seem to understand is that the less they do toward economic recovery now, the more will have to be done later. Or was leaving the Biden administration with an enormous economic mess the McConnell plan all along?”
Last May, the U.S. House passed a serious pandemic relief bill that was more than twice the size of the compromise bill signed into law this week, after Mitch McConnell said he needed to hit the “pause” button on further negotiations indefinitely. The nation cannot afford to wait another eight months for the McConnell Senate to get around to helping millions of Americans struggling with hunger and potential homelessness.
COMPROMISE STIMULUS AT BEST A DOWN-PAYMENT: The compromise stimulus bill signed into law this week slashed the value of direct relief checks and unemployment insurance in half from what the CARES Act provided — leaving many families out in the cold without the means to pay for essentials like rent, food, and medicine. The bill denies much-needed aid to states and local communities that are essential for implementing public safety measures otherwise maintaining basic support for their populations amid the pandemic. The bill inexplicably does not extend the pause the CARES Act placed on student loan payments. The bill’s housing aid does not meet the estimated $70 billion in back rent coming due and only delays the looming eviction crisis by a month. Meanwhile, at the insistence of Trump’s allies in Congress, the bill included big new tax breaks for big business — including a special interest provision that aims to further benefit the richest and most powerful beneficiaries of the Trump Small Business Administration’s flawed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). It also includes a provision allowing for a corporate tax deduction for three martini lunches, a long-held priority for President Trump.