After 73 days of inaction, Senate proposal falls woefully short of the robust health, economic, and election support needed to face this crisis
WASHINGTON, DC — Following 73 days of inaction, the Senate majority last night released a grossly inadequate COVID-19 relief proposal that fails to provide the basic health, economic and election support people need in this crisis. While prioritizing the wishes of corporations, this package totally ignores the national health insurance crisis, fails to support state and local governments, provides zero funding for much-needed voting reforms, and denies the global nature of this crisis by ignoring critical health needs around the world and international efforts to coordinate the response to the pandemic.
It has been more than two months since the House passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which would have made many critical domestic investments, but the Senate never took up that legislation. While they stalled on needed relief efforts, millions more joined the unemployment rolls and U.S. cases of COVID-19 crossed the 4 million mark, with nearly 150,000 lives lost. Globally, COVID has magnified inequalities and barriers to health care. And due to structural racism and centuries of underinvestments in communities of color in the U.S. that have created barriers to health care, Black, Latinx and Indigienous people are suffering the most from this crisis, becoming infected and dying at disproportionate rates.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep across the country, the Senate has once again failed to take meaningful action. We need our leaders to be bold and put people first, especially the Black and Latinx communities most impacted by this virus. The Senate proposal falls woefully short of the kind of robust support the nation and the world need. There’s so much more to be done to address the physical, emotional, and economic damage caused by this disease and the administration's failed response to its spread — the Senate can and must do better.”
Among the Senate proposal’s many failures, three years to the day since many Senate Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it does nothing to help the more than 5 million people who have lost health insurance or to expand Medicaid coverage during the pandemic. The proposal also dramatically cuts unemployment benefits provided to people who have lost their jobs, and it lacks any critical voting reform funding necessary to ensure safe and secure elections in November. With less than 100 days until Election Day, states still need $3.6 billion in federal funds for voting reforms, including extended early in-person voting period, no-excuse absentee voting by mail, expanded voter registration options, prohibition of polling place adjustments that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations, and voter education. The proposal also fails to make necessary investments in global health and provides no funding for international coordination through the World Health Organization or the United Nations Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.