Given the sheer amount of fuckery popping off on a daily basis, it’s almost easy to forget that we’re currently in the midst of a pandemic that is decimating both public health and the economy. Almost. While the president and certain GOP governors try to deny and downplay the severity of the virus, it’s only getting worse in large segments of the country. As case numbers increase and millions file for unemployment, Senate Democrats are proposing another relief bill to assist Americans who are overwhelmingly struggling right now.
NBC News reports that a bill drafted by Senate Democrats includes the $350 billion “Economic Justice Act,” a proposal meant to provide relief to communities of color. The money is meant to be “an important down-payment” to answer for systemic racism and the “historic underinvestment in communities of color.” The Democrats argue that the money will help relieve these communities of the “severe burden” that’s been placed upon them as a result of the pandemic.
From NBC News:
“Long before the pandemic, long before this recession, long before this year’s protests, structural inequalities have persisted in health care and housing, the economy and education. Covid-19 has only magnified these injustices and we must confront them with lasting, meaningful solutions that tear down economic and social barriers, and reinvest in historically underserved communities,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
The proposal comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to unveil Senate Republicans’ next relief bill as early as next week, setting up a clash with Democrats over a path forward as the economy still feels the impacts of pandemic.
Both the Republicans and Democrats in the Senate are drafting two separate bills and have not been in contact with each other during the process. McConnell’s bill is said to include funds meant to help schools reopen, protections for hospitals and businesses against lawsuits related to the virus, another round of direct payments and more money for testing. The Democrats’ proposal also includes money for schools, in addition to increased protections for those on unemployment, and the Economic Justice Act.
The act would predominantly be funded by repurposing $200 billion that was intended to provide relief to large businesses from the CARES act passed at the start of the pandemic. The proposal would see $115 billion going towards affordable housing, education and high-speed internet access. Additionally, $40 billion would go towards community healthcare, $25 billion towards rent relief and $15 billion for Medicaid expansion.