WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This morning, dozens of leaders of faith groups from across the religious spectrum released a series of videos urging the Senate to rise to the moment and pass their own version of the HEROES Act designed to further handle the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping both the nation and world. Communities of faith are concerned that the longer into the summer the Senate goes without acting, the more people will suffer as benefits expire and states are forced to impose severe budget cuts. This will leave those deeply impacted by the COVID-19 economic impacts with little to no safety net.
“People in every community need assistance,” said Diane Randall, Friends Committee on National Legislation general secretary. “As a Quaker, I join my brothers and sisters from many faith traditions to implore Congress to do more. Act with the urgency and magnitude that this COVID-19 crisis requires.”
Multiple studies continue to make clear that across the country, communities of color are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This includes higher infection rates, hospitalizations, and deaths. On top of that, people of color are also overrepresented in jobs with the most public interactions and/or those deemed essential (grocery clerks, meatpackers, etc). These jobs are especially prone to virus transmission. Recent nationwide demonstrations show our policymakers must act immediately to address systemic issues related to racial injustice as well as economic justice.
"Millions have lost their jobs in this pandemic, and people are scared that coronavirus relief is running out. The entire nation shares this fear,” said Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. “Senator McConnell, you can stop this. Get the Senate together and get to work. We need a more perfect union, and that means passing bipartisan workers legislation that provides relief for the 40 million newly-unemployed here in the United States. Do your job."
On March 15th, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800), their fourth such bill to deal with the immediate and long-term fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic collapse. Since that time, as more than 100,000 Americans have lost their lives to the virus and economic and racial strife have further pulled the country apart, the Senate has been loath to do anything more on the matter.
“We are living through a time of overwhelming challenges and pivotal opportunities — a time when Americans are recognizing the profound problems in our country and demanding systemic change,” said Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. “As we recommit to fighting for racial and economic justice, we call on policymakers to lead with wisdom and compassion, to acknowledge and confront longstanding and shameful issues of racial and economic injustice while taking action to address the growing rates of hunger and hardship. At the very least, Congress must immediately boost SNAP benefits to ensure that all Americans can feed themselves and their families with dignity and choice.”
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.