20,000 signatures reached
To: All members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives
Congress: Move immediately to pass real, robust COVID-19 relief
The COVID-19 pandemic is worse than it's ever been. Nearly one year in, and cases are still increasing. Along with the ongoing public health crisis, we continue to be challenged by an economic crisis that has left millions unemployed, uninsured, housing and food insecure, and more.
President Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion relief package, representing an important first step in getting aid and relief to those who need it to survive this crisis. With nothing less than survival for tens of millions of Americans at stake, we need real, robust relief, and we need it now. Congress must strengthen and expand the Biden proposal, and pass it immediately.
Why is this important?
The COVID-19 pandemic is worse than it's ever been. Nearly one year in, and cases are still increasing. Families across the country continue to grapple with unparalleled losses of income and necessary support systems. And despite the promise of relief from the vaccine, states are struggling with distribution.
So even as we continue to wear masks, keep physically distant, and care for our neighbors, the situation remains dire for far too many.
Along with the ongoing public health crisis, we continue to be challenged by an economic crisis that has left millions unemployed, uninsured, housing and food insecure, and more. We need our political leaders to step up in a major way and with the utmost urgency to tackle these overlapping crises. This is a once-in-a-century emergency, and it demands groundbreaking solutions to match.
President Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion relief package, representing an important first step in getting aid and relief to those who need it to survive this crisis. But we're already hearing troubling resistance from Republicans and even some Democrats—that the size of the proposal is too large, or that they don't like certain provisions, or that they don't see the need to pass relief right now. Those of us who are surviving through the crisis day to day know exactly how dire and urgent the need is for ourselves, our families, and our communities.
We need to send a message to all of our representatives, and we need to be loud and clear: Relief for those of us facing down the impacts of this crisis can't wait. With nothing less than survival for tens of millions of Americans at stake, we need real, robust relief, and we need it now.
The Biden COVID-19 relief proposal includes another round of survival checks, enhanced and extended unemployment insurance, aid to states and localities, more funding for vaccinations, an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and more.
It's a great first step in tackling this burgeoning crisis, and members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have already been organizing to strengthen the proposal in the House of Representatives.
As we're pressuring our representatives to pass the package, here are a few things it should ensure:
- Immigrants in the U.S. receive the same dignity, care, and respect as everyone else and are not left out of relief once again. This package should include survival checks and health care coverage for immigrants, and a pathway to citizenship for essential workers, immigrant youth, and TPS recipients.
- Everyone can see a doctor. With millions unemployed and losing insurance, we need emergency health care coverage via a public plan.
The proposal contains a modest amount of funding, but more aid to states and localities is needed to prevent layoffs and cuts to essential services.
- And last but not least, we can't allow Republicans in Congress to water down Biden's proposal for a $15 federal minimum wage—or cut it out of any final legislation altogether. There are other important ways that the proposal could be strengthened or expanded as well: student debt forgiveness; auto-stabilizers so that assistance continues until the economy recovers, rather than expiring on an artificial timeline; rent and mortgage cancellation; and more.
Overall, it's important that our representatives hear that we want them to expand and strengthen the Biden proposal, not water it down further.
One last point: While President Biden has put forward calls for bipartisanship and unity—on a proposal that should be embraced by any elected official who doesn't want to see their constituents suffer—the reality is that most Republicans won't support legislation that provides relief to middle- and working-class Americans.
There's no time to waste in getting people the relief they need to survive, and if Republicans won't get on board, Democrats should be prepared to pass this proposal—and future ones—without them.
Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer, along with Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders, have all spoken up in support of using Congress's reconciliation process to pass the proposal, which would allow Democrats to pass it in the Senate with a simple majority, instead of trying to convince ten or more recalcitrant Republicans to vote for it. This is absolutely what must happen to ensure our communities are able to weather the brutality of the pandemic, and every representative must be ready to vote for reconciliation in the House and the Senate.
Whether our representatives are Democrats or Republicans, they need to get on board or get out of the way.