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As the Coronavirus Pandemic Rages Across the Country, Where Are Republicans?

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While Republicans ignore the coronavirus crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic is raging across the country: It’s clear this crisis is only worsening and relief is urgently need. Democrats stand ready to deliver that aid. House Democrats have acted not once, but twice.

In May, House Democrats passed the Heroes Act, providing over $3 trillion in coronavirus relief to:

  • State and local governments to keep first responders, health workers, teachers, and other essential workers on the job;
  • Testing, tracing, and treatment;
  • Direct payments to ensure families can make ends meet;
  • Additional assistance to help keep employees on the payroll;
  • Emergency unemployment assistance;
  • Protections for workers;
  • Housing and nutrition assistance, among other provisions. 
Nearly six months went by, and Senate Republicans willfully chose not to act. Mitch McConnell went as far as saying let the states go bankrupt.  This crisis grew worse, and Republicans sat on their hands:
“I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It saves some cities. And there’s no good reason for it not to be available. My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that. That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of.” – Mitch McConnell [CBS News, 04/23/20]
In October, House Democrats passed an updated Heroes Act, a compromise measure that still providing the relief that families desperately need.

But where are Republicans? Still not at the table.

“I think there are 15-20 of my guys that are not going to vote for anything. ... It's a statement of the obvious that we will not have everybody on our side…” - Mitch McConnell, [The Hill, 07/21/20]

“Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., said Monday that it would ‘be hard’ to find just 13 members of his party to go along with a potential deal struck by Pelosi and Mnuchin — even with the president's backing.” [NBC News, 10/20/20]

“‘I think it’s very unlikely that a number of that level would make it through the Senate, and I don’t support something of that level,’ Senator Mitt Romney told reporters. ‘Something far more targeted to the people who really need help, I’d like to see done, and I’d like to see done as quick as possible.’” [Reuters, 10/20/20]

Senator McConnell is moving away from compromise by lowering his proposal from $1 trillion to $500 billion.

President Trump is “bunkered in the White House,” tweeting conspiracy theories about the election and ignoring the crisis.

And House Republicans are enabling this dysfunction and chaos.

Economists, experts, and the American people are calling for additional assistance:

The Economic Strategy group released a bipartisan statement urging Congress to pass a bill to address the coronavirus crisis, saying: “Amidst a resurgence in COVID-19 caseloads and continuing economic devastation from the pandemic, we urge Congress to enact legislation that focuses on the core measures necessary to provide additional fiscal relief as quickly as possible and no later than the end of this calendar year… the pandemic resurges throughout the country. Our nation’s leaders should act on another round of fiscal relief now. At the same time, the administration should act aggressively to deploy the unspent resources it already has to combat the virus and support businesses. Our country and economy cannot wait until 2021.”

Chairman Jerome Powell continues to sound the alarm on the need for urgent relief, saying that “Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses. Over time, household insolvencies and business bankruptcies would rise, harming the productive capacity of the economy and holding back wage growth. By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller. Even if policy actions ultimately prove to be greater than needed, they will not go to waste.” [Washington Post, 10/6/20]

Seventy-four percent of Americans want Congress to approve a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package.

House Democrats have acted. It’s time for Senate Republicans to pass the updated Heroes Act or negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement. There is only one party refusing to compromise and reach a deal: the GOP.

Click here to read the PDF. 

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