McCormick: Congress must pass American Rescue Plan

New Jersey’s leading progressive Democrat, Lisa McCormick, released the following statement urging Congress to pass American Rescue Plan

Now that the U.S. Senate has passed the American Rescue Plan, I urge the House of Representatives to take swift action to get COVID-19 relief into the hands of people across the country—particularly the unemployment benefits that will lapse on March 14th unless extended before that date.

My call for passage is not without extreme disappointment about certain aspects of this legislation, since it does not fulfill the promise of $2000 survival checks, it does not lift the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and it does not provide supplemental unemployment benefits of $400.

After approving wasteful corporate welfare worth trillions of dollars, amounts much greater than these allocations, Congress picked a bad time to impose austerity on Americans with $1400 survival checks, a federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25 an hour for the last 12 years, and reduced unemployment benefits of only $300 per week.

America’s elected leaders had a chance to lead with compassion and develop a package that truly met the urgent economic needs of people in one of the richest nations on the planet.

Austerity and needless penny-pinching in this moment of crisis is immoral — those who suffer most need courageous action from those elected to lead precisely in times like these — but it is also stupid, because while an infusion of money would help individual families survive it would also spark economic activity that could not otherwise be expected. 

For more than a year, the American people were told we are on our own. President Joe Biden promised the American people that help was on the way when he  took office 45 days ago and now, Democrats are about to deliver on that pledge, but a handful of irresponsible lawmakers — eight Democratic senators and every single Republican in Congress — are standing in the way of the potential for this American Rescue Plan. 

More than 20 million Americans had contracted COVID-19, and 370,000 had died when President Biden asked Congress to enact the American Rescue Plan. Coronavirus cases now number close to 30 million Americans and our nation’s death toll is 537,312 and rising. 

Had I been at the bargaining table, I might have been more obstinate and demanding, and I certainly would have made a case to the American people, enlisting their help to pressure recalcitrant and uncaring politicians, but this is a time for action.

Congress should pass American Rescue Plan, warts and all, without delay.

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