Congress Bails on the American People to Take Vacation Instead of Passing Covid Relief Bill
In a move so removed from the reality of the average citizen, Congress went on their regularly scheduled break without passing a continuing Covid relief package.
The House started working on the next phase of Covid relief in May. By June 1st they passed the “Heroes Act” and moved it to the Senate for Consideration. Important things to note on what initially appears to be good work…
The bill was an outrageous 1854 pages with over 500 different different handouts adding up to over three trillion dollars. It passed on a vote of 208 for and 199 against but 23 representatives didn’t bother to vote. (12 Democrats and 11 Republicans). Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi knew it would not make it through the Senate without adjustments.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t bother to take up the bill in June. At the end of July he introduced parts of the bill but did not have the votes to pass any of it. He spent two months complaining about it but did not enter into negotiations with Democrats.
Pelosi said she would work with the administration but expected the republications to start negotiations at two trillion dollars. While the two sides pointed at each other for months the current Covid relief expired for 17 million citizens and congress went on extended break.
Trump issued an executive order to extend unemployment supplement at $400 per week but it may not work and it won’t be quick. Funds need to be transferred from FEMA and the states to contribute part of the costs to get in the program. He also issued executive memorandums to defer interest and penalties on federal student loans, stop evictions and defer payroll tax withholdings. Those actions cannot be carried out without congressional approval.
Congress especially the Senate could have and should have been called into emergency session until the relief bill was passed. Instead they went home to their districts for a four week break. Unlike 17 million unemployed Americans, our Senators continue to receive full pay, buy groceries, have some of the best medical coverage and are able to pay their mortgages without worry.
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