U.S. Senate Republicans on Monday unveiled a new proposed COVID-19 relief plan. Alabama Arise executive director Robyn Hyden issued the following statement Tuesday in response:
“Millions of Alabamians are being pushed to the brink during the COVID-19 crisis. They’re struggling with difficult tradeoffs between protecting their own health, paying for basic necessities and caring for children and seniors. Nearly one in four renters in Alabama are behind on rent. And one in five adults with children in our state say their kids sometimes don’t have enough to eat because the household just can’t afford enough food.
“As families face these health and economic shocks, the Senate relief proposal fails to meet the demands of the moment. This plan would slash supplemental unemployment insurance benefits amid the highest unemployment since the Great Depression. It wouldn’t increase housing assistance to prevent families from being evicted and becoming homeless. It wouldn’t increase SNAP benefits to address the critical hunger concerns facing families of schoolchildren. And it wouldn’t provide Alabama and other states with the money needed to invest in child care, avoid teacher layoffs and prevent cuts to Medicaid and other vital services as budget shortfalls grow.
“This plan is inadequate by any measure. We urge our senators to reject it and look instead toward the approach taken in the House-passed HEROES Act. The House plan would boost Medicaid funding and offer more support for essential workers and people who lost their jobs. And it would provide federal assistance so states can avoid devastating service cuts that would hurt tens of millions of people.”
What a meaningful COVID-19 relief plan should look like
Alabama Arise urges Congress to negotiate a COVID-19 relief package that does the following:
- Boosts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits so struggling families can keep food on the table.
- Increases housing assistance to help people pay their rent and mortgages and to avert a surge in homelessness.
- Preserves the weekly $600 federal increase to unemployment insurance benefits.
- Provides additional federal funding for states to avert harmful layoffs and invest in vital services like Medicaid and child care.
- Removes administrative barriers to alternative school meal distribution procedures for districts that are holding classes online.
- Allocates federal funding to help election officials process more absentee ballots and maintain proper social distancing at polling places.
- Makes the Child Tax Credit temporarily available to children in families with the lowest incomes and expands the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-paid workers who are not raising children in their homes.