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'Lives and Livelihoods Are on the Line': Progressive Ad Campaigns Target GOP Senators for Blocking Relief as Covid-19 Rages

"This is not the time for senators to go on vacation. Mitch McConnell's partisan games are an act of violence and recklessness against the American people."

"As coronavirus continues to ravage America, GOP senators have chosen to bail out big corporations," said a coalition of advocacy groups and labor unions. (Image: On Their Watch)

Dozens of progressive advocacy organizations on Monday launched two separate billboard and ad campaigns targeting Republican senators for refusing to take legislative action as Covid-19 cases surge nationwide, states barrel toward economic disaster, and 28 million Americans could face imminent eviction.

"As coronavirus continues to ravage America, GOP senators have chosen to bail out big corporations," said the coalition of advocacy groups and labor unions behind the new On Their Watch campaign.

"Time and resources are running out for those on the frontlines—rent is due, evictions are imminent, essential workers still don't have the equipment they need."
—Rahna Epting, MoveOn

On Their Watch is calling on the Republican-controlled Senate to approve the House-passed HEROES Act, a Democratic bill that would send another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to most people in the U.S., provide states with $3.6 billion in election funding, establish a hazard pay fund for frontline workers, and extend through January of next year the $600-per-week boost in unemployment benefits that is set to expire on July 31.

If the enhanced unemployment benefits are not extended, more than 30 million Americans will see their incomes fall dramatically.

Rahna Epting, executive director of MoveOn, said in a statement announcing the ad campaign that the "refusal by GOP senators to pass essential relief legislation like the HEROES Act is costing their own constituents more and more with every passing day."

"Time and resources are running out for those on the frontlines—rent is due, evictions are imminent, essential workers still don't have the equipment they need," said Epting. "Our lives and livelihoods are on the line—this is not the time for senators to go on vacation. [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell's partisan games are an act of violence and recklessness against the American people."

Between Monday and July 20—the day the Senate is expected to return from its two-week recess—On Their Watch plans to run television, online, and billboard ads against Republican Sens. Martha McSally (Ariz.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Kelly Loeffler (Ga.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Susan Collins (Maine), Steve Daines (Mont.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), and Lindsey Graham (S.C.).

The campaign was organized by the American Federation of Teachers, Care in Action, Community Change Action, Democracy For All 2021, MoveOn, SEIU, and other organizations.

Below is a sample billboard targeting Graham:

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We Demand More, a separate coalition of nearly 60 advocacy organizations, also kicked off a week-long ad and billboard campaign Monday condemning Republican senators for failing to act on additional Covid-19 relief "despite growing health and economic needs."

"Women and their families are the essential core of the workforce, yet, despite incredible need, have been left out in the cold by a Senate that has failed to do its fundamental job: act on behalf of its people," said We Demand More, which includes Ultraviolet, Public Citizen, NARAL, and Women's March.

We Demand More's billboards and ads will target Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), David Perdue (R-Ga.), McConnell, Tillis, Loeffler, McSally, Ernst, and Gardner.

The two progressive campaigns come days after the U.S. on Friday recorded 68,000 new Covid-19 infections, setting a new single-day record by more than 8,000 cases. The Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is also beginning to rise following months of steady decline.

Even as the pandemic and the resulting economic fallout continue to worsen, McConnell has refused to allow a floor vote on the HEROES Act in the Senate, dismissing it as an "expensive, unserious wish list."

The We Demand More coalition is urging Republican senators to stop dragging their feet and:

  1. Prioritize our health and safety ahead of corporations;
  2. Get life-sustaining relief to us NOW;
  3. Make state governments strong, they are our lifeline;
  4. Stop the attacks on our reproductive healthcare; and
  5. Protect our safety and our right to vote in 2020.

"The Senate must step up to the plate and move urgently to pass a package that will provide life-sustaining relief to the women struggling to hold their communities and this country together—their lives depend on it," the coalition said.

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