At a time when our economy remains stuck in a deep hole, when 26 million unemployed Americans urgently need assistance to feed their families and keep their homes, and when a resurgence in COVID-19 makes new setbacks likely, our nation cries out for leadership from the president of the United States.
What we’re getting instead is chaos, recklessness and irresponsibility. President Trump’s statement yesterday ending COVID-19 relief negotiations until after the election was a slap in the face of every American struggling with joblessness, diminishing work opportunities, the prospect of new layoffs, children learning from home, and the other ills caused by this pandemic.
While his tweets last night suggest he has changed his mind, the president’s erratic behavior utterly fails to offer the steady, calm, sound leadership our nation so urgently needs in this time of crisis.
In May, House Democrats passed the HEROES Act providing the relief our economy and America’s working families need to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sat on their hands and did nothing for months.
On October 1st, the House passed a new version of the HEROES Act designed to address Republican complaints about the original bill and jumpstart a bipartisan agreement. It would restore $600/week pandemic unemployment benefits, provide new stimulus payments to all Americans, keep small businesses afloat, aid state and local governments to prevent cutbacks and layoffs, require OSHA to issue strong COVID safety standards, and do much more.
On behalf of OPCMIA’s 56,000 members and their families, I urge President Trump and Senate Republicans to re-enter negotiations and swiftly turn the HEROES Act into law. Anything less would be an utter betrayal of our hardworking members, all essential workers, and the entire nation.
Daniel E. Stepano