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10.20.20

Five Things That Should Be In The Senate’s Stimulus Package

This Week, Senator Tillis, Washington GOP Pushing Through Sham Bills To Gain Political Cover Just Two Weeks Before Election Day

RALEIGH, NC — This week, Senator Tillis and the Washington GOP will move forward with another vote on a sham bill that seeks to do more for vulnerable Senate Republicans than the people that they serve. 

Instead of seeking a bipartisan compromise, Senator Tillis continues to push through a bill that not only doesn’t do enough for North Carolinians, and has already failed to pass once. The Washington Post reports that “[i]t appears destined to meet the same fate this week.”

Here are five things that should be in the next stimulus package:

 

  • EXTENDED FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: It’s been nearly three months since the enhanced federal unemployment benefits have run out, and hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians remain out of work.
    • In a press call earlier this month, Grant Welch, legislative-political coordinator for CWA North Carolina discussed the impact COVID-19 has had on workers, specifically airline workers who have seen tens of thousands of employees furloughed in recent weeks: “If Congress had done their job, we wouldn’t be with these many unemployed workers in North Carolina and across the nation.
  • RELIEF FOR SMALL TOWNS & CITIES: Without federal intervention, local governments across North Carolina are facing massive budget shortfalls due to enormous dips in revenue while preserving the critical services needed during the pandemic.
    • Durham Mayor Steve Schewel wrote an op-ed about the dire need for federal relief: “Current estimates are that the budget shortfall in North Carolina for 2021 will be $2.6 billion…Without help from Washington, we will be struggling to provide our basic services, and we certainly won’t be able to meet the needs of our small businesses hanging on by a thread and the thousands of Durham residents who simply can’t pay their rent.”
  • SUFFICIENT FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS: Budget shortfalls will also impact schools and teachers. One expert said: “Federal aid provided so far, while helpful, is much too small to allow states to avoid laying off teachers and other workers, and taking other steps that would worsen the recession and delay recovery.” Because Senator Tillis failed to reach a bipartisan compromise, schools have now been back for two months without the aid they need to reopen safely. Students without access to high-speed broadband or a device are forced to do their homework from a library parking lot to keep up with virtual learning.
    • NCAE President Tamika Walker Kelly said in a recent press call with Cal Cunningham: “Rather than crafting a plan to help schools reopen safely, Tillis chose to simply bully students and educators back into classrooms that are unsafe. The Trump Administration hasn’t done anything to help the tens of millions of students without the high-speed internet and technology they need to participate in virtual learning, and Tillis has done nothing to change this.” 
  • RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: Small businesses are critical to North Carolina’s economy, and many fear closures without additional aid from Congress. CNN reports today that a small business owner in North Carolina is “frustrated with Congress for taking so long to act.” adding ‘I’ve always done better when I can predict what’s happening, so my eyes are on it all the time.’”
  • MEDICAID EXPANSION INCENTIVE: According to Families USA, “North Carolina is estimated to have 238,000 laid-off workers who are losing health insurance. And that would mean that the state has about 20% of its adult population under the age of 65 without any health insurance whatsoever.” Without Medicaid expansion, even more low-income North Carolinians are falling into the coverage gap during a global pandemic. A Medicaid expansion incentive would reinstate the 100 percent cost share for states that have not expanded Medicaid.

Cal Cunningham released his priorities in May, and has been repeatedly calling on Senator Tillis to act on these five priorities to help serve the people struggling across the state. But Senator Tillis has failed to act for months, breaking his promise to North Carolinians that he wouldn’t leave Washington until he got the job done. 

“Senator Tillis is once again throwing in with Washington GOP leadership to get behind a sham bill that is all about helping boost his re-election campaign, not about helping the people of North Carolina,” said Kate Frauenfelder, a spokeswoman for Cal Cunningham’s campaign. “North Carolina voters can see that on Senator Tillis’ watch, they will continue to suffer as he prioritizes his own political cover over what’s best for the state.”