Despite an unprecedented and ongoing economic crash in the U.S. spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic, Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are refusing to consider further aid and stimulus until July at the earliest—a decision critics warn will result in misery and deprivation for tens of millions of Americans.
“Communities of color can’t wait for you to slow walk more coronavirus aid, Senate Majority Leader” Americans For Tax Fairness executive director Frank Clemente tweeted Tuesday.
Communities of color can’t wait for you to slow walk more coronavirus aid, @senatemajldr.
The protests spotlight not only police violence, but COVID-enhanced gaps in healthcare, education, housing & more. State & local services need a big federal boost now. https://t.co/3S9lIfeD2w
— Frank Clemente (@clemente_frank) June 9, 2020
The economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus outbreak in March has put millions of Americans out of work. The nation’s unemployment rate remains in the double-digits, though May’s jobs report showed an uptick in employment—albeit one that some economists noted was based in faulty data and underreporting.
Nonetheless, Senate Republicans appear to believe that the economy is a winning issue that they can leverage for political gain in November. That risky move, Democratic consultant Tim Fullerton said, could backfire.
“Hanging their political lives on a jobs report with errors is a hell of a position to take,” said Fullerton.
As Politico reported, the refusal to act carries political risk and the delay could be devastating on the country’s economy:
If the Senate waits until next month to act, the window gets smaller. After July 3, the Senate is scheduled to go on a two-week recess, return for three weeks and then depart again until September.
Republicans say it’s only responsible to wait and see how nearly $3 trillion in total coronavirus spending seeps into the economy. But it’s also a gamble: if the economic recovery isn’t as strong as they predict, they risk being blamed by voters in November that they and President Donald Trump didn’t do enough amid a global pandemic and historic recession.
The confidence of Senate Republicans in the economy struck Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as unfounded and dangerous.
“I fear that the recent bump in the employment number, caused in large part because of the stimulus money we pumped into the economy, will create in Republicans a sense of complacency and the economy will get even worse,” said Schumer.