WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Labor Department’s December jobs report shows that the Trump recession persisted even through the holiday season, wiping out 140,000 more jobs. The unemployment rate is at an unacceptably high 6.7 percent and an even worse 9.9 percent among Black Americans. Additionally, more than 19 million Americans continue to draw jobless benefits amid an uncontrolled pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 350,000 Americans.
While the needs of struggling workers, states, and small businesses are massive in scale, the stimulus bill passed late last month was watered down at the insistence of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. That leaves the new Congress much work to do to achieve a real economic recovery for those other than millionaires and big corporations. McConnell has already set an obstructionist tone by blocking a strongly bipartisan bill passed in the U.S. House to boost stimulus checks to $2,000 — an effort even supported by Donald Trump.
“Throughout the health crisis and Trump recession, Mitch McConnell has insisted on providing the bare minimum relief for hurting families and small businesses and the maximum giveaways for corporations and the rich,” said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Accountable.US. “Half measures and reverse-Robin Hood priorities under Trump and McConnell are the reason the Biden administration is inheriting such an extraordinary economic mess. And if McConnell’s demotion to minority leader is any judge, the American people are not satisfied with the results.
“It’s time for McConnell and Senate Republicans to set politics aside and work with the new leadership to deliver real relief to communities who’ve been shortchanged and neglected,” added Funk. “McConnell should get out of the way of efforts to pull millions of Americans off the path to poverty, rather than re-assume the mantle of Obstructionist-in-Chief.”
Last May, the U.S. House passed a serious pandemic relief bill that was more than twice the size of the compromise bill agreed upon last month, 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.