Group Calls on Congress to Pass the Legislation as a Down Payment on More Robust Response
December 20, 2020
Contact: Derrick Crowe, 512.516.5067, [email protected]
WASHINGTON, D.C.—People’s Action Director George Goehl today released the following statement in response to information released about the agreement reached by congressional negotiators on COVID relief legislation:
“To say this relief package is a day late and a dollar short is an understatement to say the least. Mitch McConnell and the Senate GOP prioritized the profits of the one percent over the well-being of everyone else since this pandemic began. The result is a diluted bill that’s barely a Band-Aid, but definitely a slap in the face, for people suffering across the country.
“Congress must pass this bill to address the immediate need, but let’s be clear: this should be considered a down payment at best. There has been solid improvement in this bill, and that would have not been possible without grassroots organizations turning up the heat and progressive elected officials like Senator Sanders, Congresswoman Jayapal, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“We fought tooth and nail to get people direct cash payments, even though we know a one-time, $600-per-person check isn’t nearly enough to survive. We also pushed hard to make sure both extended and enhanced unemployment insurance and direct cash assistance were included instead of pitted against each other. By standing up for workers, we kept corporations accountable by rejecting the corporate liability shield. Republicans have no business protecting corporations who force workers to risk their lives just to bloat their bottom line.
“Congress should have done much more to address the housing crisis faced by tens of millions of people. It’s not complicated: we need a complete moratorium on evictions, rent and mortgage cancellation, and erasure of pandemic-related housing debts. Rental assistance just means the landlord gets paid with no strings attached, not even a commitment not to evict the tenant next month if they take the money. Rental assistance also doesn’t do anything to address back rent that’s piling up.
“We also need funding for state and local governments to prevent deep cuts to essential local programs, services and the workforce.
“When the history books are written about this pandemic, GOP majority leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans will be remembered as heartless souls who played politics with people’s lives by blocking life-saving relief for months. The GOP’s unwillingness to respond urgently to the needs of the American people is exactly why all eyes are on Georgia, and the need for a new majority in the Senate. Either way, in 2021 we’re ready to fight for robust relief and economic recovery under President-elect Biden.”
People’s Action is a national network of 40 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. People’s Action and its member organizations coordinated one of the biggest distributed organizing programs in rural areas this election season.