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RALEIGH, NC — Nearly three months after federal enhanced unemployment benefits and eviction moratoriums expired, and as COVID-19 cases and the unemployment rate are on the rise, Senator Thom Tillis has once again chosen to walk away from COVID-19 relief negotiations at the expense of North Carolina. Tillis is clearly prioritizing his political interests over the needs of North Carolinians, after pointing out in August: “We should not leave the American people and people in North Carolina in a lurch for the next two or three months, it would be devastating.”
“Senator Tillis has again failed to serve North Carolinians,” said Cal Cunningham. “Facing a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, Senator Tillis is prioritizing his own political interests ahead of working to secure the COVID relief we badly need. North Carolinians deserve leadership in Washington who will fight until the job is done, and I’m asking voters to put me in this fight.”
Unemployed North Carolinians have now been without enhanced federal benefits for almost three months and Tillis has yet to secure a much-needed relief package for North Carolinians. Instead, Tillis has been more focused on campaign stunts in Washington, rushing through a Supreme Court nominee who is hostile to North Carolinians health care interests and voting for a sham bill that even the President said didn’t go far enough.
Recent reports show that since the federal benefits have expired, North Carolina’s economy has been losing at least $356 million a week and more than 780,000 adults were unable to buy food for their family. North Carolina workers held a news conference last week holding Tillis accountable for failing to pass a relief bill when North Carolinians are struggling to weather this economic crisis.
Meanwhile, local governments continue to navigate massive budget shortfalls, while trying to provide critical services. In Durham, Mayor Shewel writes: “At least 200,000 North Carolinians also have lost their employer-sponsored healthcare, and estimates are that almost 550,000 are struggling to find their next meal…If Congress doesn’t pass significant relief and recovery, state and local governments will founder and our most vulnerable residents will suffer the most.”
On a recent press call with Cal, NCAE President Tamika Walker Kelly slammed Tillis for failing to secure federal funding for schools in our state: “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.”
Cal released his COVID-19 priorities in May, and has been calling on Senator TIllis to take action to support North Carolinians struggling through this public health and economic crisis including by expanding enhanced unemployment benefits, relieving state and local government budget shortfalls, providing resources for schools and small businesses, providing relief for the postal service, and passing a Medicaid expansion incentive.