1. Update
  2. Economic Justice

Senate Skinny Bill Leaves Behind Most Vulnerable

By Andre Gobbo, September 17, 2020


Negotiations for another round of COVID relief have stalled. Members of Congress have just a couple weeks remaining before leaving for the elections. Now is the time to pull out all the stops and press for robust and immediate COVID-19 relief.

Yet, despite increasing levels of food insecurity, the expiration of expanded unemployment benefits, and a growing number of people struggling to pay for everyday household expenses, the Senate put forth another “skinny” package that falls woefully short of addressing the unprecedented need experienced by millions of people across the country.

Congress has a moral obligation to protect the common good and help the most vulnerable members of society. It’s time for our legislators to act.

Instead of adequately addressing the economic or public health crisis, this package cut expanded UI benefits in half, included another round of PPP loans for small businesses, provided small amounts of funding for the U.S. Postal Service, and gave some funding for educational support and childcare. The package also protects businesses from liability lawsuits in an attempt to incentivize them to reopen in the midst of the pandemic.

More important than what is in the package is what isn’t. There is no nutrition assistance, no housing or homelessness assistance, barely any funding for state or local governments, and no new stimulus checks. All of these provisions provide critical support for people who are struggling to make ends meet, yet are nowhere to be seen in the Senate package.

An increasing number of families across the country are struggling. A household pulse survey conducted by the U.S. Census in late August found that nearly 1 in 11 adults lived in households that didn’t have enough to eat – this number increases to almost 1 in 8 adults in households with children. Approximately 1 in 16 adults lived in households that are behind on their mortgages, and more than 1 in 7 adults lived in households that were falling behind on rent payments. Most strikingly, more than 76 million adults—almost a third of those surveyed—found it somewhat or very difficult to afford usual household expenses.

This is an all hands on deck moment. If another package doesn’t pass now it’s very likely there won’t be any additional assistance until 2021.

Congress has a moral obligation to protect the common good and help the most vulnerable members of society. It’s time for our legislators to act.

Congress must pass a robust, comprehensive package that addresses the needs people across the country are facing. This is an all hands on deck moment. If another package doesn’t pass now it’s very likely there won’t be any additional assistance until 2021.

Struggling families cannot wait. We need you to reach out to your Senators and tell them they not to leave for another recess without passing a comprehensive bill that includes funding for critical priorities like nutrition assistance.


This article has been updated since it was first posted on Sept. 10.

Background Responding to the Coronavirus 

The coronavirus pandemic is a generational threat, and its impacts will be felt by all of us. But know this: Our work for peace and justice will go on. Here’s how we will continue our advocacy in the face of COVID-19 and how you can join us.

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.