Common Good Iowa

Statement: Senate Covid relief bill fails to meet the challenge of this unprecedented crisis

Posted on July 29, 2020 at 4:38 PM by Anne Discher

Statement from Anne Discher, executive director of the Child and Family Policy Center:

“Iowans have been hit hard by the pandemic and the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Thousands have lost their jobs and are still out of work. They need help paying their rent, putting food on the table and getting health and child care.

“After months of delay, yesterday we finally got to see Senate’s proposal for the next round of Covid-19 relief. It utterly fails to meet the challenge of the unprecedented crisis we face.

“The bill includes no increase in SNAP benefits to help people buy food for themselves and their families; no increase in housing assistance to prevent people from being evicted. It offers no new fiscal aid to state and local governments to head off painful teacher layoffs and cuts to health care and other services that keep our communities going. Its child care provisions represent a fraction of what is needed to stabilize our hard-hit child care industry and keep children safe and healthy. It does include massive cut in unemployment benefits for laid-off workers — even though the high numbers of Covid cases mean many people are unlikely to be able to return to work soon.

“We must do better. Months into this pandemic, about 134,000 Iowa households, including 98,000 children, report not having enough food to eat. Black, Latino and immigrant families —disproportionately left out of relief programs to date — have been particularly hard hit as the crisis has exacerbated long-standing inequities in health care, education and housing stemming largely from structural racism.

“Iowans need their elected representatives in Washington, DC, to put people first. As the House and Senate negotiate a final package, they must push for provisions that support Iowans hard-hit by the crisis and put our economy on the road to recovery.”

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