It is inexcusable that Mitch McConnell sent the Senate home while a staggering number of Americans continue to file for unemployment and the HEROES Act, the next coronavirus economic relief package, has not yet been debated.
Since McConnell has been dragging his feet on the HEROES Act, 63,000 Americans have died due to COVID-19. While McConnell has the Senate on a recess-vacation, the virus is not taking a holiday. It is a nonpartisan killer.
Meanwhile, as the deadly pandemic wreaks havoc across the country, peaking and continuing to spread in a majority of states, laid-off workers have yet another burden to face in the coming weeks: the end of the $600 weekly unemployment benefits provided by the CARES Act.
This additional $600 stipend, set to expire at the end of July, has quite literally meant life or death for millions of America’s families. It’s given families the ability to pay for their rent or mortgage, make car payments, or afford groceries and prescriptions.
Let’s be clear: Nobody wants to be unemployed. A job is about more than a paycheck — it’s a source of dignity. Millions are out of work through no fault of their own.
Unless the Senate passes the HEROES Act, which proposes continuing these payments into January, Americans will needlessly suffer. Our economy will continue to spiral downward and any recovery will take longer. It’s time to pass the HEROES Act, extend unemployment and keep working people whole.
At the same time, Congress and the president need to keep their hands off of Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Health care is a right, not a privilege for those who can afford it. And Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt – two of our greatest presidents – were right when they said government is responsible for helping people who need help.