WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans released their plan for a second economic stimulus package.
The Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools Act, or HEALS as it will be known, is meant to replace the original stimulus, set to expire Friday.
This gives them just five days to come to an agreement with Democrats in the House before unemployment assistance is cut off to the 20% of American workers who are currently out of work through no fault of their own.
Mitch McConnell calls the plan a starting point, but the negotiation and passage of the bill will be hard going. The proposal begins where the previous package did, another one-time $1,200 check. You remember how far that first one went, right?
After that comes the reduction of your additional $600 in weekly unemployment, down to $200. The reasoning: They feel that this supplement discourages Americans from going back to work. According to them, some of you are making more money now then you did at your regular job.
So, I guess, that extra dough is making you lazy and complacent. If it wasn’t for this, your tax dollars coming back to you in a time of crisis, you would want to return to work. Who cares about a life-threatening pandemic?
What really makes me angry, though, is the L in HEALS. Liability Protection. If you recall, the initial stimulus was held up because of the same push from the Senate. If this should pass, businesses, health care providers and schools will be shielded from any coronavirus-related lawsuits brought by workers, employees and I’m assuming parents, for five years.
It's a total smiling head nod to corporate America, and a complete turning of the back to the American citizens. Any bill that prioritizes profits over safety should be a non-starter. Not to mention, this protection eliminates the biggest incentive employers and politicians themselves have for ensuring safety measures before sending the rest of us back out into the world.
It's bad enough multiple states have already been accused of manipulating their COVID numbers to accelerate reopening, now there will be no recourse for doing so. Just what we all want to hear.
And what of rent and mortgage relief? They aren’t mentioned at all. Those bills are coming due. Are they really going to allow millions of people to be turned out onto the streets? Is this how a nation takes care of her citizens?
The numbers across the board for this pandemic are growing and show no signs of slowing down. It’s time that our leaders make an investment in the people of this nation, rather than corporate interest and shares. If they aren’t willing to do this, remember, November 3rd is coming.