Dear Colleague on Insufficiencies of the Administration's COVID-19 Relief Proposal
Dear Democratic Colleague,
As you know, last week, the President suspended negotiations that had been proceeding on our Heroes Act. As you further know, following his tweet, the stock market went down and so did he in the polls. Subsequently, Secretary Mnuchin came back to the negotiating table, and this weekend, the Administration issued a proposal that amounted to one step forward, two steps back. In fact, in some instances, it makes matters worse.
A fly on the wall or wherever else it might land in the Oval Office tells me that the President only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up. The American people want us to have an agreement to protect lives, livelihoods and the life of our American Democracy. Democrats are determined to do so!
The President’s attitude is shameful, when the need for immediate and meaningful action could not be more urgent. Over 215,000 Americans have died, nearly 7.8 million have been infected and millions more are still without jobs or income security and therefore struggling to make rent and put food on the table. Tragically, the Trump proposal falls significantly short of what this pandemic and deep recession demand.
After the Administration finally sent its proposal over the weekend, our Chairs of the Committees of Jurisdiction released statements expressing their concerns about the inadequacy of the Trump proposal. I urge you to read them, including:
- State and Local Government: Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey: the Trump Administration’s latest offer “shortchanges state and local governments that provide most services Americans depend on. The coronavirus pandemic is the greatest peacetime challenge our nation has ever faced. We must meet the moment, and that will require Republicans to work in good faith on a meaningful relief package.”
- Testing: Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone: “The Administration continues to refuse to put a national testing, tracing and surveillance plan in place. [The Trump plan] would also needlessly delay funding to states by requiring states to jump through legislative hoops that are simply unnecessary. It does nothing to address the barriers and needs of communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”
- Working Families: Ways and Means Chair Richie Neal: “This approach is a transparent attempt to score political points in the coming weeks, not a plan to ensure those who are struggling can make ends meet. Democrats expanded the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Meanwhile, the Trump proposal fails to include either of those expansions, depriving millions of Americans of thousands of dollars in tax benefits” while continuing tax benefits for some of the wealthiest in America.
- Rental Assistance: Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters: “Right now, an estimated 14 million families are at risk of eviction and homelessness, which is why Democrats have persistently pushed to provide robust emergency rental assistance, in addition to other life-saving provisions to prevent evictions and foreclosures. The Trump Administration’s misguided action to temporarily delay evictions is no substitute for the Heroes Act’s strong tenant protections and rental relief.”
- Workers’ Protections and Child Care: Education and Labor Chair Bobby Scott: “Seven months into the one of worst public health crisis this country has ever experienced, infection rates are rising again, and OSHA still refuses to issue any enforceable workplace safety standards. Their measly offer to increase funding for education stabilization is not enough to help schools reopen safely. Additionally, our child care system is on the brink of collapse and their proposal would not even cover half of what is needed.”
- Small Businesses: Small Business Chair Nydia Velázquez: “Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s proposal fails to meet the needs of our country’s smallest businesses and employees. These businesses – our local restaurants, hotels, retailers, entertainment venues, movie theaters, and family-owned and operated bodegas – were particularly harmed by the Trump Administration’s ‘first-come-first-serve’ approach to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). But the Administration is now requesting that Congress consider small business relief alone and in a far more inadequate form.”
- Elections: House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren: “While the President peddles bogus conspiracy theories about voting by mail, his proposal provides no funding for state and local governments to conduct either safe in person or safe mail voting. The COVID pandemic, which the President downplays publicly, has put financial strain on our states and our Post Office when it comes to this election. Their proposal is a disgrace.”
- Census: Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney: “The Administration’s latest coronavirus proposal – coming after months of dithering since the House passed the Heroes Act to provide essential relief and protections to working families – is inexplicably short-sighted and wildly deficient. The Administration’s actions are directly jeopardizing the Constitution’s core requirements for a complete and accurate Census.”
I thank our outstanding Chairs for bringing their formidable expertise to assembling a Heroes Act that is science-based, which stands in tragic contrast to the Trump proposal.
Sadly, the serious issues detailed above are not exhaustive of our many outstanding concerns. Significant changes must be made to remedy the Trump proposal’s deficiencies. Updates will continue.
I remain hopeful that the White House will finally join us to recognize the needs of the American people, and take action to address the health and economic crisis in their lives.
Thank you for your leadership to save lives, livelihoods and the life of our American Democracy For The People.