STATEMENT: Senate COVID-19 Package Abandons the American People in a Moment of Great Need, Says CAP’s Neera Tanden

Washington, D.C. — Today, nearly 120 days since the U.S. House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, the U.S. Senate failed to advance a slimmed-down COVID-19 relief package authored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Following the vote, Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

Nearly 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, tens of millions of Americans are out of work, and millions of families are struggling to make ends meet while caring for children who are learning at home or in dangerous environments ill-equipped to protect students and educators.

Rather than take meaningful action to help the American people in this moment of great need, the Senate majority put forward a package that hollows out emergency unemployment insurance, extorts schools to fully reopen without regard to local health conditions, and exploits a pandemic to advance an ideological wish list, such as U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ private school vouchers scheme.

It fails to include stimulus checks to help families pay rent or afford prescriptions, rental assistance, or aid to states and localities that are facing devastating shortfalls that can only lead to severe layoffs and budget cuts that will cripple our economic recovery for years to come. What the proposal does include—a liability shield that puts the interests of big business first—is an insult to front-line workers all over this country who are putting themselves in danger to keep our communities running.

It’s been nearly four months since the House took decisive action to put families first in our nation’s response to the pandemic. Since then, roughly 100,000 Americans have died and countless livelihoods have been destroyed. The American people deserve a plan that reflects the scale of the crises we are confronting, not another handout to Fortune 500 companies. It’s past time for the Senate to get serious about the very real economic pain our country is experiencing.

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