In a new, scathing editorial, the Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial board demands action from Senator Tillis when in “just days, key unemployment benefits for more than 800,000 North Carolinians will end.” While he has been “off the radar,” North Carolinians were left without answers, wondering how they will make ends meet relying solely on the state unemployment program — “one of the stingiest” in the country thanks to Thom Tillis’ record as Speaker of the North Carolina House.
A new report from the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities reveals the hardships North Carolinians are facing without federal action. Numbers show that 713,000 households did not have enough food to eat in the past month, the percentage of households receiving food assistance increased by 13 points from February to May, and 20 percent of North Carolinains are behind on rent.
Taking away federal unemployment benefits that account for nearly 80 percent of someone’s total benefits would be catastrophic, but a spokesman for Thom Tillis suggested that extending benefits could “make the problem worse.” That’s why North Carolinians won’t believe his “milk-toast platitudes about getting people back to work as soon as possible.” They know that he will always make it a “bigger priority to back up President Donald Trump” and “[n]o one should believe, for a minute, that there is ANY connection between the selfish self-interest priorities of Trump and the most urgent needs, concerns or benefits of North Carolina’s citizens.”
Instead of taking action immediately to help North Carolina families, small towns and cities, and schools, Senator Tillis and Mitch McConnell packed up for a two-week break. Now, as coronavirus cases in North Carolina surpass 100,000, “[t]heir negligence and failure to act has resulted in an emergency.”
Cal Cunningham’s campaign released a list of four priorities yesterday for the next aid package now that Tillis is finally back to Washington, including extending federal unemployment benefits, relieving state and local government budget shortfalls, providing resources for schools, and passing a Medicaid expansion incentive.
The editorial offered a clear call to action: “Thom Tillis: Offer up a clear voice in support of what North Carolina needs to survive. Just as clearly, reject what Donald Trump’s self-interests demand.”
Translated: Just do your job, Senator. For Tillis — that’s a tall order.
Capitol Broadcasting Company: Editorial: Burr and Tillis need to help N.C. more than appease Trump
CBC Editorial Board – July 21, 2020
- North Carolinians may want to issue a “silver alert” to find U.S. senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis.
- They’ve been off the radar when it comes to addressing the coronavirus pandemic. There’s some important business they need to attend to.
- In just days, key unemployment benefits for more than 800,000 North Carolinians will end. It is a benefit that has added $600-a week to weekly unemployment benefits paid in the “worst state to be unemployed.” It has, through last week, injected $4.2 billion into the North Carolina economy – putting food on out-of-work family tables; paying rent and utility bills; childcare costs and medical care costs. It is money that gets spent in retail stores that keeps other workers on the job – and pumps sales taxes into the state and local government treasuries.
- It represents more than two-thirds of the total unemployment benefits paid in North Carolina since March 15. If noting is done, benefits for hundreds of thousands of unemployed in North Carolina will drop from a weekly average of $877 to $277.
- Tillis has offered milk-toast platitudes about getting people back to work as soon as possible. Burr has not made any public comments. They must be waiting on directions from the White House to let them know what’s best to do. The concern for North Carolinians is just who are Burr and Tillis looking to please and serve?
- In recent weeks the two seem to make it a bigger priority to back up President Donald Trump than attending to the needs of North Carolinians. No one should believe, for a minute, that there is ANY connection between the selfish self-interest priorities of Trump and the most urgent needs, concerns or benefits of North Carolina’s citizens.
- Continuing the additional $600-a-week payments isn’t a bonus. It is no luxurious free ride. Refusing to return to work “solely on the basis that you will earn less than you can collect in unemployment benefits is not considered good cause. … If you refuse to return to work solely on this basis you will not be eligible to receive benefits,” says the posted state policy.
- It is time to stop playing politics with the lives of North Carolinians. The conceptual White House relief package is larded with contingencies such as: requiring schools open in return for aid; rejecting funding states to increase testing and tracing; and cutting a payroll tax that provides NO relief to those who need it most NOW.
- Richard Burr and Thom Tillis: Offer up a clear voice in support of what North Carolina needs to survive. Just as clearly, reject what Donald Trump’s self-interests demand.
NC Policy Watch: Hardship across North Carolina requires immediate federal action
By Alexandra Sirota – July 21, 2020
- As members of our North Carolina congressional delegation return to Washington to develop additional responses to COVID-19 and its public health and economic impacts, it’s essential that they closely examine evidence of the devastation the pandemic is wreaking here and around the country and shape a legislative response accordingly.
- This is particularly true of our U.S. Senators Burr and Tillis, who have yet to vote on a relief package since the early days of the COVID-19 crisis.
- In analysis release today, the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities demonstrates the staggering need that has arisen across the country (including North Carolina) in the face of COVID-19 and its public health and economic impacts.
- Given this backdrop, swift and bold action from Congress — particularly from of our U.S. Senators — is essential in order to build a legislative package that will respond to the crisis and secure an inclusive recovery. In particular, new legislation must shore up supports for families and communities in need and sustain public infrastructure at the state and local levels until this crisis is under control.
- The bottom line: Hardship left unaddressed will stall our recovery, worsen health, education and economic outcomes for individuals and communities and signal a rejection of the humanity of all people across North Carolina. It is time for the Senate to act.