1. Update
  2. Economic Justice

Sen. McConnell’s COVID-19 Relief Package is Woefully Inadequate

By Andre Gobbo, July 31, 2020


As expanded unemployment benefits and eviction moratoriums expire, Senate leadership released a package of multiple bills to address the economic fallout from COVID-19. The package falls dramatically short and fails to address the unprecedented need experienced by many throughout the country.

When the CARES Act (H.R. 748) was passed, it included several key policies that helped reduce poverty across the country. However, some of those policies have already expired – notably expanded unemployment insurance benefits and an evictions moratorium. The expiration of these benefits, combined with increasing rates of food insecurity, paints a dire picture for people who are already struggling to make ends meet.

The impact of Congressional delays are already being felt across the country, and our already uncertain economic situation could get a lot worse if swift action isn’t taken.

Instead of taking decisive action, Congress is still negotiating what to include in the next COVID-19 relief package. While the House passed the Heroes Act (H.R. 6800) several weeks ago, Senate leadership only just released a series of bills. The Senate bills fall woefully short, and they include additional provisions that would do little to address the economic or public health crisis, such as money for a new FBI building and allowing businesses to increase their tax deductions for fancy meals.

Here’s a brief comparison of where Sen. McConnell’s bills come out when compared to FCNL’s priorities:

In Sen. McConnell's Proposal: FCNL Priorities:
X Increases SNAP benefits by 15% and the minimum monthly benefit from $16 to $30?
X

Additional funding for state and local governments to fill budget shortfalls caused by COVID-19?

X

Expansions to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) so that more people can access these vital tax credits?

Partial

Additional funding for emergency rental assistance and homelessness assistance?
- Some funding was included to maintain current Section 8 voucher rental assistance, but no funds were allocated for homelessness or emergency rental assistance.

Partial

Continues expanded unemployment insurance benefits?
- The proposal would reduce expanded benefits from $600 down to $200 until states have the capacity to replace 70% of someone’s lost wages.

Another round of economic impact payments?
- Another $1,200 check would be distributed using the same criteria that was included in the CARES Act, but mixed status families (families where some but not all members are documented) still cannot access this assistance.

Now that McConnell introduced his bills, the White House and congressional leaders are negotiating. Their efforts are increasingly looking like too little, too late. Eviction protections have expired and expanded unemployment checks have stopped going out. Congress needs to pass another comprehensive COVID-19 package as soon as they can.

The time for you to act is now! Because the House passed HEROES Act and the Senate package are so different, our voices can have a crucial impact in shaping what the final bill looks like. We need you to reach out to your Senators and urge them to quickly pas another comprehensive COVID-19 package that includes increases to SNAP benefits.

Andre Gobbo

  • Legislative Representative, Domestic Policy

Andre Gobbo adds capacity to the Domestic Policy team by handling constituent queries, writing action alerts and sign-on letters, assisting with lobbying visits, creating informational content, supporting coalition relationships, and helping execute FCNL’s legislative strategies.