Dear Colleague on Our Commitment to Children in COVID Relief Negotiations
Dear Democratic Colleague,
It is 89 days since we passed The Heroes Act. At that time, to remind, Leader McConnell pressed the pause button. Since that time, over 3.7 million Americans were added to the list of those infected and 77,000 more have died. Clearly, the virus didn’t pause.
Sadly, when Senator McConnell finally put forth a proposal, it was piecemeal and not For The People.
Thanks to the leadership of our Committee Chairs, our Heroes Act was a comprehensive, well-justified proposal, documented and recommended by scientists, economists and non-partisan institutions.
In this report, I want to focus on the children: their hunger, their housing, their health and their education.
When people ask why can’t we resolve our differences, it is important to note that it would be easier if we had shared values which put people first – especially our children first. For example:
- Leaving Children Hungry: Millions of children are food insecure. The Heroes Act differs greatly from the Senate bill, with our bill providing over $60 billion for food assistance compared to Republicans’ $250,000.
- Making Children Homeless: Millions of Americans are at risk of being evicted in the middle of the pandemic, causing homelessness. The Heroes Act extends the eviction moratorium and provides $100 billion in rental assistance. The Republican bill has zero.
- Children and Coronavirus: I am hopeful that science will prevail as to the funding we are requesting for defeating the virus. It is important to note that communities of color are especially hard hit. This disparity is especially obvious in the hospitalization of children: Hispanic children are 8 times more likely to be hospitalized than white children and African American children are 5 times more likely. These impacts on children challenge our conscience.
- Safety in Our Schools: Democrats are proposing the funding recommended by the School Superintendents Association which states they need “$200 billion in emergency funding … as well as at least $4 billion in emergency funding to support remote learning.” The Republican proposal falls way short and proposes most of its aid only for actual, in-person attendance – this while more than 75 of the 100 largest school districts report that they will be virtual or hybrid.
Schools are greatly affected by support for state and local government, and there is a great difference between us and the Republicans on state and local funding. McConnell’s position is to let states go bankrupt, and the Administration’s proposal is sympathetic to that view. Economists also tell us that the fiscal soundness of states is of vital importance to the strength of our economy.
These examples, as well as differences related to putting money in the pockets of the American people, relate to the lives and livelihoods of the American people. The life of our democracy is also affected by GOP disagreement over the Census, the Postal Service and election funding.
Our differences are vast, but we must reach agreement. Leader Schumer and I stand ready to find common ground. We have proposed that we meet halfway. We have suggested that we would go down $1 trillion if they came up $1 trillion.
I thank our Committee Chairs and so many Members for their commitment For The People.