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Wearing a scarf over her mouth and nose, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is surrounded by security and staff as she arrives for her weekly news conference during the novel coronavirus pandemic at the U.S. Capitol April 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Wearing a scarf over her mouth and nose, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is surrounded by security and staff as she arrives for her weekly news conference during the novel coronavirus pandemic at the U.S. Capitol April 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Democrats Are Insulting American People by Repeatedly Saying 'Next Time' on Real Covid-19 Relief

The challenges that millions of Americans are facing right now are real, life-threatening, and demand immediate, far-reaching action by our elected officials. It shouldn't be too much to ask that they act like it.

Morris Pearl

Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Congress has poured trillions of dollars into relief efforts that mostly benefit wealthy individuals and big corporations. From a $500 billion corporate slush funds with the barest of oversight, $195 billion in tax cuts for millionaires, and $350 billion in small business loans that were sucked up by big chains and public companies, our lawmakers have gone through three full relief packages without including substantial or adequate relief for the most vulnerable in this crisis—working people.

The latest iteration of Coronavirus relief stimulus—dubbed "CARES 3.5" or COVID 3.5—was a bill that replenishes the Small Business Administration’s program for small businesses loans after the first round of funding went largely to companies that didn't need it. This funding was also a main Republican priority and the single biggest piece of leverage House Democrats had to negotiate a better deal for workers.

"It is an insult to the American people that over a month into a national lockdown, we still don't have universal paid sick leave, forcing essential workers who feel ill to put themselves and everyone around them at risk just to pay their bills."

Instead of using that leverage, Democrats told Americans who work for a living to just wait until the next bill for the changes they desperately need.

The challenges that millions of Americans are facing right now are real, life-threatening, and demand immediate, far-reaching action by our elected officials. It shouldn't be too much to ask that they act like it. 

It is an insult to the American people that over a month into a national lockdown, we still don't have universal paid sick leave, forcing essential workers who feel ill to put themselves and everyone around them at risk just to pay their bills. Essential workers, already chronically underpaid and overworked, are falling ill and dying at faster rates than anyone in this country because they have to choose between their health and their income.

It is an insult to the American people that with virtually every state in the country facing catastrophic budget shortfalls, they still don't have adequate support from the federal government. While Congress dithers, states and municipalities are slashing education, laying off public sector employees, and even putting Medicaid, Medicare, and healthcare jobs on the chopping block in the middle of a global pandemic. 

It is an insult to the American people that as bills continue to accumulate for millions without steady streams of income, the federal government is giving nothing more than a one-time payment of $1200. That money that won't even cover a month's rent for many, but it's at least better than nothing—which is what undocumented immigrants, college students, and unbanked homeless citizens will get under the current terms.

"It is an insult to the American people that with our elections in November catastrophically threatened by this pandemic, we still don't have universal vote by mail, additional election security funding, and no plan from Democrats on how to stop President Trump from ripping apart the U.S. Postal Service."

It is an insult to the American people that with our elections in November catastrophically threatened by this pandemic, we still don't have universal vote by mail, additional election security funding, and no plan from Democrats on how to stop President Trump from ripping apart the U.S. Postal Service. If we don't secure this election immediately, the new refrain from Democrats might as well be "just wait another 4 years."

Congress voted on CARES 3.5 on the same day that reported jobless claims rose by another 4.4 million. Despite that horrifying figure, this bill doesn't reflect a sense of emergency. Congress has, thus far, clearly decided to keep pushing the ball further down the road when it comes to additional support, but there's still time to change. 

"Just wait until the next bill" is not good enough anymore. If these are truly legislative priorities for members of Congress, as they should be, they need to start fighting for them.


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Morris Pearl

Morris Pearl

Morris Pearl currently serves as Chair of the Board of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of 200 high-net-worth Americans who are committed to building a more prosperous, stable, and inclusive nation. The group focuses on promoting public policy solutions that encourage political equality, guarantee a sustaining wage for working Americans, and ensure that millionaires, billionaires, and corporations pay their fair share of taxes.  Follow him on Twitter: @morris_pearl

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