We are on the cusp of entering year three of the Coronavirus pandemic and still are facing troubles– even with the abundance of vaccines. The U.S. just surpassed 800,000 COVID deaths, and infections are rising worldwide given the emergence of the Omicron variant. Student loan payments are set to resume in February, evictions are on the rise, and inflation is wiping out any gains families had due to raises or job switches.
As much as we as a collective want this to be over, many people still need help. Nine months ago, Congress passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which included unemployment insurance, enhanced child tax credits, and a $1,400 stimulus check for eligible Americans. According to CNN, Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a progressive house democrat from New York, is calling on Congress to pass an additional relief effort. Bowman spoke more about his action.
“We now lost 800,000 American lives to COVID 19 — double the number we lost in World War 2. This number is shocking, and cannot continue to climb without another federal intervention,” Bowman writes. “Our defense budget is ($)770 billion a year but we are not doing enough to defend ourselves against a global pandemic that is killing us directly and indirectly through the mental health crisis it has created.”
In regards to added provisions, Rep. Bowman outlined them specifically here
“Bowman outlines that this new emergency supplemental should specifically address how the pandemic is affecting children and their mental health by including a bereavement fund for children who lost a primary or secondary caregiver due to Covid-related reasons, the cancellation of federal student loans, the cancellation of housing-related debt for past due rent and mortgage payments, the reinstatement of an eviction moratorium and foreclosure moratorium, and renewed funding in education among other provisions.”
Just as the saying goes, “the pandemic is not over because you’re over it.” It’s not like the government doesn’t have it or has to cut back on that morning coffee for budget reasons. According to USA Today, Congress just passed a $770 billion defense spending package with little pushback. When it comes to investing in the American people in somehow elevating them out of poverty due to an ongoing pandemic, the piggy bank all of a sudden has no change.
Let’s also consider that Congress is currently debating passing a $1.75 trillion social safety net bill through the reconciliation process. The possibilities of that moving quickly before the year is out looks grim because, you guessed it, everybody’s favorite senator from West Virginia has some concerns. It’s the harsh realities of having an extremely slim majority in the Senate. While lives hang in the balance, things don’t get done. The sad thing is, we live. in a country where we could help others but choose not to under the guise of old values. Yes, you can work hard and assist those who are less fortunate. Especially while a panoramic is going on.