As this article is being written, Congress is in the final stages of the so-called “stimulus bill.” Despite, most likely, not getting signed into law before Christmas — as was initially indicated would happen — the second round of post-COVID-19 relief not only falls short of the initial promises made in the first proposal, but also falls disastrously short of relief provided to other citizens of other so-called “first world” countries in the wake of the pandemic.
Let’s take a look at what we know about the pending relief.
The Stimulus Bill Includes Another Cash Payment
NBC News is reporting that citizens who have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic can expect yet another cash payout or a so-called “stimulus check.”
Some Washington insiders are bragging that Americans can expect a payout as high as $600, while other Washington insiders are bragging that the cash payout “could be more.”
In other words, Americans may receive a total of $1,800 in post-coronavirus relief — which, when averaged out over the length of the pandemic, works out to about $200 per month in “relief.”
This “relief” is a mere pittance, to the point of being nearly insulting.
While claims of a congressional pay raise during the pandemic have been debunked (members of Congress last received a pay raise in 2009), it’s disheartening to know that congressional salaries are at a whopping $174,000 per year while “essential workers” — who are at the greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 — can’t even get hazard pay from their employers as they scramble to pay their bills at minimum wage.
The promise of a $600 check in the new stimulus bill is even more insulting when you consider how other “first world” countries around the world have given relief to their citizenry in the wake of COVID-19.
Spain’s citizens receive $1150 per month as part of the ERTE bill. Poland’s citizenry has received 40% of their paychecks each month.
Canada’s citizenry has received up to 75% of their wages each month. And Australia’s citizenry has received $1050 every two weeks to stay afloat.
The United States is (allegedly) the richest country in the world, yet its citizens are being treated the same — and arguably worse — than Brazil’s citizens, who received a one-time stimulus check of $110 (but who have universal health care, something Americans do not have).
How is this “stimulus bill” generous to the average American?
What Else Is Being Proposed?
The second stimulus bill doesn’t just include a one-time
pittance payout, of course. The bill doesn’t include liability protections for employers (meaning, basically: if you got sick from COVID-19 on the job, and the job failed to adequately protect you from getting it, you can sue — but as any experienced personal injury lawyer will tell you, that will take years to resolve), and it doesn’t include state or local funding.
So what does this new bill include? According to Politico, the bill:
- Provides an additional $300 in an “unemployment boost” through March 2021
- $325 billion in “small business” relief, with an additional $257 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- Funding for vaccine distribution, education, transportation and health care.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is also pushing for $17 billion for the Save Our Stages Program, which is intended to go towards entertainment venues that have been battered the most by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While some lawmakers are concerned that this will negatively impact restaurants — who have also been negatively impacted by the coronavirus — Schumer has assured the governing body that the bill will cover both restaurants and entertainment venues.
Currently, the deadline for the bill is Friday. However, Politico reports that legislative action in the Senate could go through to the weekend.
While the Senate is due to adjourn for Christmas break, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has promised that the Senate will not leave without passing a stimulus bill.
“We’re not leaving, I assure you. We’re not leaving until we finish this package,” he said, according to NBC News.
That’s of little comfort to the millions of Americans who will lose their unemployment benefits on December 26th, 2020, if the benefits are not renewed.
With such a precarious position for millions of Americans, such an insulting cash payout to the suffering citizenry (to say nothing of the loss of health benefits with the loss of jobs), and the increasing threat of more lockdowns in major metropolitan cities, Congress needs to get to stepping when it comes to helping the people they allegedly serve.