Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on the bipartisan agreement to fund the government and provide additional, long-overdue pandemic relief for the American people, including survival checks and enhanced unemployment demanded by the Progressive Caucus:
“It’s been eight long months since the American people have received any pandemic relief from the federal government. This deal will help keep families afloat – and prevent a catastrophic economic cliff and eviction crisis on January 1st – but it’s not nearly sufficient to address the enormous and growing need in our nation.
“This crisis was wholly preventable. Poverty, homelessness, and mass unemployment are policy choices made by callous politicians who would rather funnel money into the pockets of billionaires than help working families. This suffering could have been prevented if Congressional Republicans had worked with us, instead of stonewalling for months while hundreds of thousands of Americans died and millions more lost their jobs and life savings.
“While it’s important that survival checks and enhanced unemployment were included in this deal at the insistence of the Progressive Caucus, a one-time check of $600 is a Band-Aid for struggling families who are months behind on their rent, utilities, and car payments. It’s a disgrace that in the richest nation on Earth, millions of people will be spending this holiday season wondering if they will be able to keep a roof over their heads or pay for groceries in 2021.
“Families deserve better than the insufficient aid provided so far. This bill is a stopgap measure that includes many important provisions, including ensuring that survival checks are available to mixed-status families – including retroactively, so these families can also finally benefit from the $1200 checks from this spring – as well as critical funding for SNAP, rental assistance, and enhanced unemployment. But we will need to go far bigger and bolder to rescue our economy and help the American people. We must listen to the experts and economists who have told us that the dangers of going too small far outweigh the risk of going too big. In the coming months, Congress must pass a comprehensive package that meets the scale of the crisis, prevents this economic crisis from worsening, and brings real, substantial relief to the millions of individuals and families living on the brink.”