Take Action on the Next Coronavirus Supplemental Bill

Social Statement COVID19 2Congress Debates Economic Priorities and Response

UPDATE: With only a few legislative working days remaining in the year, lawmakers are returning to Washington to complete the urgent work that must be done to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress must respond to the continuing health and economic crisis in every community in our nation—particularly for vulnerable populations including healthcare and front-line workers, the unemployed and under-employed, businesses, indigenous, and black and brown communities.  Our voices are needed now more than ever in urging Congress to complete the bi-partisan negotiations to address COVID-19 before the holidays and congressional adjournment.

Congress is considering a new supplemental package to address the economic impacts of COVID-19. We thank lawmakers for the measures already taken to help our nation through this pandemic. As negotiations continue, lawmakers need to hear from faith-based advocates. As impacts cascade, ministry demands expand and more workers are left without employment, our role to care for our community and each other is more valuable than ever.

Based upon ELCA Advocacy priorities, here highlighted are critical issues being discussed in conjunction with federal support. A unique letter in your faith-informed voice, discussing what is happening in your location and in your and your congregation’s experience, can have impact. Consider these critical issues that affect those of us in the greatest need and raise your view with your lawmakers. Refer to additional information on these points in a longer letter to ELCA Advocacy network members.

  • HUNGER RESPONSE: In any economic crisis, the risk of hunger always increases in our communities as unemployment and financial hardships rise. Congress should increase the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit by 15 percent during this emergency to ensure households have enough resources to avoid the hard choice of choosing between paying for their bills or for food. Funding for Puerto Rico's Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) must also be extended beyond provisions’ July 31st expiration which leaves 190,000 vulnerable people without food access benefits.
  • INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE: Because of the scale of this global crisis, more resources are needed to address the needs of vulnerable communities around the world. To ensure effective global responses that will protect all of us here at home and around the world, we ask Congress to allocate $20 billion for international assistance in the next COVID-19 relief bill.
  • MIGRATION RESPONSE: Expand access to testing, treatment and other forms of assistance to immigrants and mixed-status families. The national coronavirus stimulus package that was passed by Congress excluded many immigrant workers, although many of these workers are considered “essential.” The needs of undocumented and documented immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers must be taken into account and addressed in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.
  • FARMWORKER FOCUS: Farmworkers should be eligible for paid sick leave or unemployment insurance in all states, going beyond the Families First  Coronavirus Response Act. The federal government must also ensure that all workers, regardless of their immigration status, are afforded free testing and access to treatment should they have COVID-19.
  • CHILDCARE PROVIDER FOCUS: Congress should list childcare facilities as examples of small business recipients for aid, such as recovery microgrants. Families require childcare in order to return to work.
  • IMMIGRATION DETENTION FOCUS: Minimizing the number of people in immigration detention centers, the rate of physical transfers, and deportations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) throughout the duration of the public health emergency would help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and reduce further fatal outbreaks. Deaths from influenza have occurred in federal detention centers, including deaths of minors, highlighting dire conditions and lapses in care.
  • HOUSING RESPONSE: Reports indicate that states with more evictions are much more likely to faced increased coronavirus infection rates and need more critical care. Congress should provide urgently needed emergency rental and housing assistance to people at risk of losing their homes, as well as temporarily extend the CDC moratorium on evictions set to expire on December 31.
  • NATIVE AMERICAN HEALTH: Tribes are experiencing a disproportionate health impact from the pandemic and are at heightened risk for hunger due to economic disruptions. Urge inclusion of meaningful and substantive emergency funding and technical resources for Indian Health Service (IHS), Tribal governments, and urban Indian organizations (collectively “I/T/U”) in the next COVID-19 pandemic relief package.

Take time today to make a difference. Write a message to your lawmaker about your greatest concerns and what you think should be included in an equitable federal response at this time.


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