The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on all walks of life, with millions contracting the virus and an ever-rising death toll that approaches a staggering daily loss of life on the scale of 9/11. One thing is for certain, the United States government has failed to not only adequately address the rapid spread of disease and death in the nation, but to provide a social safety net for all Americans.
With just one $1,200 check arriving for Americans in early April, unemployment assistance running out in weeks, small business loan aid being greatly exploited by the wealthy, and a greedy bailout to airlines, all signs point toward a prioritization of stock growth over human life. Both parties are guilty of this.
It is the fault of all political leaders that no such subsequent stimulus relief has been passed, no rental assistance, direct payments, loan forgiveness, reauthorization of unemployment benefits: nothing. While Democrats had passed a bill in the House months ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel has refused to do anything but propose a hollow copy of the bill. Both parties are at fault for failing negotiations while hundreds of thousands have died, millions continue to be unemployed, and countless more teeter on the edge of financial insecurity.
Stimulus negotiations have begun again in the Senate with a bill backed by President-elect Joe Biden that would include a reauthorization of expanded unemployment payments up to $300 weekly, vaccine distribution funds, small business aid, and more, though it is still not currently drafted. Senator Bernie Sanders has recently announced his opposition to the effort, as the bill provides no direct payments and includes a “liability shield” for businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits. Senator Sanders makes an excellent point, and it is disappointing a half-hearted relief bill is progressing. But nearly 8 months into the pandemic, any relief is better than no relief.
> Read more: > Congress Needs to Pass a Substantive Economic Stimulus Package by Samuel Murray