A coalition of dozens of progressive advocacy groups and labor unions is planning a nationwide day of action in battleground states Wednesday targeting Republican senators for going on a two-week vacation as Covid-19 infections surge and millions of people teeter on the brink of financial ruin.
In Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Iowa, and other states, activists will hold socially distant rallies and deliver “failing” report cards to Republican senators reminding them that “they are responsible for the massive amount of suffering that people are experiencing across the country,” the coalition said in a press release Monday.
“Communities across the country are preparing to welcome the senators home with a clear message that they are failing.”
—Labor Network for Sustainability
The Service Employees International Union, the American Postal Workers Union, Greenpeace USA, and other groups are calling on the Republican-controlled Senate to take up and pass the HEROES Act, a sweeping stimulus package the House of Representatives approved on May 15.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is set to face Democratic nominee Amy McGrath for his seat in November, has refused to allow a floor vote on the Democratic legislation.
While many progressives consider the HEROES Act insufficient, the bill would extend the $600-per-week boost in unemployment benefits, provide hazard pay for frontline workers, and shore up the finances of the U.S. Postal Service.
“The inaction of the senators is inexcusable,” said the Labor Network for Sustainability. “Communities across the country are preparing to welcome the senators home with a clear message that they are failing. Teachers, students, and parents are preparing report cards to deliver to their senators in many states.”
“Millions of workers—essential and unemployed—do not have the luxury of a vacation and our elected officials are not entitled to take one during this crisis,” the group added. “We will not allow them to ignore us!”
Another #GOPVacation for @senatemajldr McConnell’s Senate without doing anything to protect essential workers, help struggling families or fund public schools. It’s time to stop the #SenateFail, #DoYourJob and move on #HEROESActNow. pic.twitter.com/S70mgaLuuj
— MoveOn (@MoveOn) July 3, 2020
The Republican-controlled Senate adjourned for July 4 recess last Thursday without passing or advancing coronavirus relief legislation despite the dire need for additional relief for frontline workers, the unemployed, and state and local governments. The New York Times reported Saturday that “nearly 28 million households are at risk of being turned out onto the streets because of job losses tied to the pandemic.”
Senators are not expected to return to Washington, D.C. until July 20, by which point they will have just three weeks to negotiate and pass legislation before leaving for another scheduled recess on August 10.
“Over 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with Covid-19 every day, thousands are hospitalized, and states are being forced to halt their re-openings to save lives,” the coalition said. “Americans are protesting on behalf of Black lives in the streets. Meanwhile, the Senate has left to go on a vacation after refusing to pass the HEROES Act, abdicating its responsibility to do something to protect Americans.”