WASHINGTON, D.C. – The mess Donald Trump and his Senate allies are leaving behind for President-elect Joe Biden grew worse as another 712,000 workers filed for unemployment last week. More than 20 million Americans continue to draw jobless benefits as outgoing President Trump has effectively given up on containing the pandemic which has now claimed the lives of nearly 270,000 Americans. Making matters worse, Trump’s top Senate ally Mitch McConnell continues to hold up urgently needed pandemic relief for struggling workers, states, and small businesses — dismissing a serious bipartisan relief proposal as a “waste” of time while insisting on more corporate giveaways or nothing.
McConnell’s latest proposal offers far too little, too late for those most in need — not a penny for extra unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, or rental assistance, while doing nothing to fix the major flaws in the PPP program that left most Black-owned small businesses in the cold. Instead, McConnell demands blanket immunity for businesses against claims from workers mistreated during the pandemic, handouts for coal and mining special interests, and more tax breaks that overwhelmingly benefit the rich.
“The McConnell Senate enabled the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the health crisis and still insists on doing as little as possible to contain the economic fallout,” said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for government watchdog Accountable.US. “McConnell’s big idea of giving corporations permission to mistreat workers with impunity during a pandemic and giving more handouts to coal CEOs means absolutely nothing to the millions of families who face hunger and homelessness in the Trump recession. Mitch McConnell has the nerve to call bipartisan efforts to pass real relief a waste of time, when his own efforts shilling for special interests have made him a waste of space.”
Millions of families can’t afford to wait any longer for help: As Americans have waited for crucial unemployment assistance and small business owners have hoped for new relief funds, the end of 2020 will bring a halt to many programs that have been lifelines for mom-and-pop shops, their workers, and their families throughout the COVID-19 crisis, including last-ditch unemployment insurance funds, the CDC’s eviction moratorium, student loan forbearance, and more. Without a new relief deal, approximately 12 million Americans will lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas.
Nearly 100,000 small businesses have closed permanently, and thousands more are barely hanging on. Nearly half of Black-owned small businesses have shuttered for good or are on the brink — and the unemployment rate in the Black community stands at 10.8 percent. As many as 54 million people in the U.S. face food insecurity. When the federal eviction moratorium expires on Jan 1st, an estimated $32 billion in back rent will come due and up to 8 million tenants will be at risk of eviction. And nearly 2.2 million women have left the workforce since February.
While Trump’s Senate allies play politics, it has been…
- 251 days since the CARES Act was passed — the last significant comprehensive aid package Congress secured to help the American people through a crisis that is now well past its 7th month of raging through the U.S.
- 125 days since the CARES Act’s weekly $600 enhanced federal unemployment benefits ran out, leaving many families struggling to make ends meet.
- 117 days since applications for the Paycheck Protection Program closed, leaving small businesses that were denied from the program to fend for themselves.
- 29 days until Trump’s eviction moratorium runs out, potentially resulting in thousands of families losing access to stable housing.