The cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise, setting new records for daily diagnoses.
The numbers reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins remain startling:
– 12.5 million overall cases
– 259,000-plus deaths
– nearly 200,000 new cases daily
– 80,000 new hospitalizations daily
Yet, while the Republican-led Senate force-fed America a new Supreme Court Justice in record time last month, the chamber and lame-duck President Donald Trump have refused to provide a much-needed coronavirus relief package for struggling cities, states, businesses and Americans.
Democratic House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have pushed for a robust $2 trillion stimulus package that the president and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) have steadfastly declined.
McConnell has offered a $500 billion package that included very little aid for states and a vastly reduced unemployment benefit for out-of-work Americans.
“As a person who has taught personal finance to the minority community for the past 13 years, this entire situation frightens me,” said Jaquetta Tragland, owner of YoungandFinance.com.
“With unemployment on the rise and no coronavirus relief package, I believe this will set some individuals – especially minorities – back by seven to 10 years because that’s how long it will take negative entries to be removed from their credit,” Tragland said.
Christine Michel Carter, a Black activist and founder of Mompreneur and Me, called a potential coronavirus relief package vital for the African American community.
“Black moms are caregivers for not only their children, but more than likely elderly family members,” Carter said. “Black women spend nearly three times more hours per week caring for elderly or sick relatives during the pandemic compared to the 12 hours white women spend. Also, Black women spend half a day, 12 hours more on childcare per week than white women.”
The pandemic and economic crisis that its caused have disproportionately hit communities of color, to devastating effects, offered Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for The Greenlining Institute.
“Back in March, [we] called for an aggressive package of ongoing direct payments, small business aid, help for renters, a pause in mortgage payments, forgiveness of student debt and help for community nonprofits,” Mirken said.
“Only a tiny fraction of that was done and it’s still needed. Sadly, we still fear that whatever Congress does now will be too little, too late, particularly with cases spiking again and businesses again being forced to curtail operations,” he added.
Even Hollywood has expressed its outrage.
“We’re getting 180,000 COVID-19 cases per day and 2,000 deaths,” wrote actor Kirk Acevedo on Twitter. “Where’s the stimulus package? Just asking for a few million hungry, out of work and dying Americans.”
Famed author Don Winslow added: “Listen up! This is why Georgia is so important. The U.S. Senate has adjourned for the holidays without passing a coronavirus stimulus package to provide the necessary support for American families. That’s because Mitch McConnell controls the Senate.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s lead stimulus negotiator, said he would soon meet with McConnell and others to discuss a targeted stimulus package.
In May, Pelosi and Democrats in the House passed the HEROES Act. They said, and still say, that the $2.4 trillion federal aid package would jumpstart the economy and provide needed cash and benefits to all ailing states, businesses and families.
“I would pass the HEROES Act,” President-Elect Joe Biden said. “It has all the money and capacity to take care of each of [vital] things now.”
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act [HEROES] which the Democrat-controlled House approved in May failed in the Republican-majority Senate. Legislators revived the legislation in August but negotiations between Democrats and the White House have failed.
“I can tell you Mark Meadows and I will be speaking with Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy this morning,” Mnuchin told reporters on Friday, Nov. 20.
“And we are going to come up with a plan to sit down with Pelosi and Schumer and try to get a targeted bill done for the people that really need it. Hopefully, the Democrats will work with us.”
Neither Pelosi nor Schumer responded to comment requests.