While Congress is working on the terms for an emergency stimulus bill to respond to the economic fallout of the coronavirus, Congressional Black Caucus members said Monday they won’t advocate for its approval if the most vulnerable citizens aren’t protected.

In an effort to safeguard the rights of the working poor, the group of African-American leaders composed a list of nine priorities to be included in the stimulus package. The list was sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, last week.

“Yes, we have to battle this virus, but we also have to protect our communities,” Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), who also serves as the CBC’S chairperson, said during a call led by the organization’s leaders, Monday.

“What the Republicans presented does not protect most people in our communities.”

After days of intense negotiations, the U.S. Senate failed for the second time to advance the $1.8 trillion economic stimulus package in a procedural vote, Monday.

The hefty package is slated to be one of the most expensive in American history, with talks of it growing beyond $2 trillion. Republicans, who needed 60 votes to move forward on the bill, weren’t able to win over Democrats, who said that they were dissatisfied with the lack of worker protections.

Democrats also condemned the Republican-written guidelines on corporate bailouts, insisting that the bill favored corporations over people.

“When you hear that the Democrats have stopped the stimulus package from moving forward, understand that none of the safety nets that would help our communities would have been included,” Rep. Bass said.  “It’s not just Democrats blocking something; it’s Democrats fighting for the most vulnerable people.”

Those vulnerable people include African Americans and Latinos who experience poverty at higher rates than any other race. Shelby County mirrors the national statistics, with more than 34 percent of African Americans living below poverty the poverty level.

CBC leaders emphasized that those with the fewest financial resources are most vulnerable to infection and most susceptible to the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why federal support is needed; but the plan needs to be right, leaders said.

At the time of Monday’s teleconference, the coronavirus stimulus bill in the works called for Americans to receive $1200 direct deposits, along with an additional $500 for each child. The bill also included $242 billion more for programs such as SNAP, child nutrition and the Centers for Disease Control.

Bass said while immediate income support is important, long-term and targeted support will be essential in helping the country’s vulnerable populations bounce back after the pandemic.

The 11-page proposal presented by the CBC includes:

  • Requests to extend the data collection period of the Census,
  • Safeguarding safety net programs such as SNAP,
  • Provision for rural broadband funding,
  • Grants for small businesses,
  • 90-day moratorium on payments,
  • Relief for Black farmers,
  • Emergency funding for HBCUs,
  • Protection for incarcerated individuals, and
  • Increased health care for all.

“No family should have to worry about their physical health and financial health at this critical time,” said Rep. Steven Horseford (D-NV), who was also on the call. “That’s why these priorities outlined in the proposal are important.”

Bass said despite the potentially bleak economic impact that may result from the pandemic, she remains optimistic.

“As black people we have faced so many challenges and not only have we overcome them, we have thrived,” she said.

“We cannot let anything divide us, despite having the ‘divider-in-chief’ in office. I know that we will get pass this, but we can’t let it derail us. We have to remained focused.”

 

 

 

 

 

elected officials composed an extensive list of nine priorities to be included in the stimulus package. The list was sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, last week.

 

“Yes, we have to battle this virus, but we also have to protect our communities,” Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) who also serves as the CBC’S Chair, said during a call led by the organization’s leaders, Monday. “What the Republicans presented does not protect most people in our communities.”

 

After days of intense negotiations, the U.S. Senate failed for the second time to advance the $1.8 trillion economic stimulus package in a procedural vote, Monday.

 

The hefty package is slated to be one of the most expensive in American history, with talks of it growing beyond $2 trillion. Republicans, who needed 60 votes to move forward on the bill, weren’t able to win over Democrats, who said that they were dissatisfied with the lack of worker protections. They also condemned the Republican-written guidelines on corporate bailouts, insisting that the bill favored corporations over people.

 

“When you hear that the Democrats have stopped the stimulus package from moving forward, understand that none of the safety nets that would help our communities would have been included,” Rep. Bass said.  “It’s not just Democrats blocking something; it’s Democrats fighting for the most vulnerable people.”

 

Those vulnerable people include African Americans and Latinos who experience poverty at higher rates than any other race. Shelby County mirrors the national statistics, with more than 34 percent of African Americans living below poverty the poverty level- making the group the poorest in the county.

 

CBC leaders emphasized that those with the fewest financial resources are most vulnerable to infection and most susceptible to the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why federal support is needed; but the plan needs to be right, leaders said.

 

As the coronavirus stimulus bill currently stands, many Americans would receive $1200 direct deposits, along with an additional $500 for each child. The bill also included $242 billion more for programs like SNAP, child nutrition, and the Centers for Disease Control.

 

Bass said while immediate income support is important, long-term and targeted support will be essential in helping the country’s vulnerable populations bounce back after the pandemic.

 

The 11-page proposal presented by the CDC includes requests to extend the data collection period of the Census, safeguarding safety net programs such as SNAP, provision for rural broadband funding, grants for small businesses, 90-day moratorium on payments, relief for Black farmers, emergency funding for HBCUs, protection for incarcerated individuals, and increase health care for all.

 

“No family should have to worry about their physical health and financial health at this critical time,” said Representative Steven Horseford (D-NV), who was also on the call. “That’s why these priorities outlined in the proposal are important.”

 

Bass said despite the potentially bleak economic impact that may result from the pandemic, she remains optimistic.

 

“As black people we have faced so many challenges and not only have we overcome them, we have thrived,” she said. “We cannot let anything divide us, despite having the ‘divider in chief ‘in office. I know that we will get pass this, but we can’t let it derail us. We have to remained focused.”