December 3, 2020
December 3, 2020
You can learn a lot about our leaders from how they act during times of crisis.
This December, we are in our 10th month of the pandemic in the United States. With COVID cases climbing, deaths exceeding 274,000 and hospitalizations surpassing 100,000 for the first time, some states have halted reopening plans and imposed new restrictions.
Containment of the virus is key to sustained economic recovery. As is another round of federal stimulus.
Americans are not okay. Communities are struggling. And lawmakers are failing them. Twelve million people are set to lose their unemployment insurance in the coming weeks, the poverty rate is on the rise, and local food banks—along with hospitals—are overwhelmed. More than 50 million people, including 17 million children, are anticipated to experience food insecurity this year. In May, House Democrats passed a robust second round of stimulus that not only would meet these challenges, but also address some of the systemic problems that leave so many families vulnerable in the first place. The Republican-led Senate refused to act, balking at its costs. We’ve gone from a necessary and imaginative $3.2 trillion package to, “how can we provide the bare minimum at the last minute?”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s so-called compromise doesn’t even include needed aid to states. For months, state and local lawmakers have been making the case for flexible fiscal relief that would allow them to avoid layoffs and deep cuts to services that are vital as individuals and families struggle to survive this health and economic crisis.
Maya Angelou once said that “you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas lights.”
A note to Americans: No need to worry about lost luggage this year. Let’s all stay home and do what we can to ease the burden on our health care system and minimize the loss of life.
About those Christmas lights: We’ve got this. It can be a slow and arduous process, but what else are you going to do while in quarantine?
And a note to Senate leaders: It’s raining. Americans need a bold plan to help us get through this.
Policies to support and lift up Americans are within our reach. The time is now. Let’s enact policies that reflect our character.