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AFSCME President: GOP coronavirus relief bill ‘spectacularly fails to meet the moment’

Pictured (left to right): House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), U.S. President Donald Trump (R). Photo Credit: Getty / Pool / Pool
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By AFSCME Staff ·

AFSCME President Lee Saunders is criticizing a coronavirus relief bill crafted by Senate Republicans that does little to confront the economic and public health crises still crippling the nation. He said the legislative proposal “spectacularly fails to meet the moment.”

“COVID-19 continues to ravage our communities,” Saunders said in a press statement Monday after the GOP proposal was released. “The economy is cratering. Schools have no idea if they can safely open their doors in the fall. State and local governments are in a state of fiscal collapse. Public service workers are getting pink slips, even though their life-saving work is needed now more than ever.”

AFSCME has called for at least $1 trillion in federal aid for states, cities, towns and schools to keep essential services running. The House has approved that amount as part of the Heroes Act.

Polling shows that 84% of voters approve of significant federal aid for states and localities to overcome the devastating effects of the coronavirus on the economy, as well as to maintain vital public services. Even 77% of voters in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky back $1 trillion in federal aid to states, cities, towns and schools, and overwhelmingly reject his suggestion that states should declare bankruptcy to deal with the budget shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Higher unemployment means millions more people will turn to Medicaid for their health coverage, compounding the stress on state budgets,” Saunders said. “The Senate proposal offered introduced today does nothing to address these converging crises. It instead focuses on protecting corporations while abandoning working people, and is seemingly content to let state and local governments go bankrupt.”

Congress must act to provide relief to states, cities and towns before its August recess. Saunders called on Senate Republicans to “go back to the drawing board and deliver a bill that is worthy of our front-line heroes.”

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