For Immediate Release: September 21, 2020
Contact: Kelly Allen, 304-612-4180
Charleston, WV– For several months, members of the Health Care for All WV coalition have urged our U.S. Senators and House Representatives to prioritize a robust COVID relief package that would address the immense suffering West Virginia families, businesses, and local governments are facing. Congress has failed to come together to prioritize people and pass relief for communities since enacting the CARES Act in March, and now most of the CARES Act’s critical provisions have expired while the economic and health crisis continues.
Over the last several days, reporting has suggested that the U.S. Senate, lacking consensus on another COVID relief package, would adjourn until after the election without addressing the urgent needs facing families across the country. But now that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has left a vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States, Senate leadership is pledging to convene the Senate to vote on a new nominee.
“It is unacceptable that despite Senate leadership’s unwillingness to stay in Washington to work with Congressional Democrats and the White House to secure COVID relief for millions of families who are currently suffering, they do appear to be willing to stay to fill a Supreme Court vacancy,” said Jessica Ice, executive director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care.
“Families across West Virginia are facing spiking food and housing insecurity, federal unemployment benefits ended nearly two months ago as unemployment rates remain historically high, and our state has the highest percentage of adults at risk of serious complications from the virus. Helping families and spurring our economic recovery by working together on a robust COVID relief package must be the Senate’s top priority,” said Kelly Allen, interim executive director of West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.
“Congress’ failure to pass additional COVID Relief has led to untold suffering and economic catastrophe for millions of Americans and countless West Virginians. Our Senators, especially Senator Capito as a majority member, should press their colleagues to stay at the negotiating table until they reach a deal helping those who’ve lost jobs and health care and are now facing hunger and evictions,” added Gary Zuckett, executive director of WV Citizen Action Education Fund. “It’s unconscionable that the Senate is planning Supreme Court hearings over COVID relief negotiations.”
Health Care for All WV, a coalition made up of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, West Virginia Citizen Action Education Fund, the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, and groups & community members across the state, urges our U.S. Senators to prioritize West Virginia families who need help now by passing a COVID relief package prior to taking any action on the Supreme Court vacancy.
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