Blog Posts > Statement: Republican Plan Fails to Meet Needs of West Virginia Families or Match Scope of Unprecedented Economic Challenges
July 28, 2020

Statement: Republican Plan Fails to Meet Needs of West Virginia Families or Match Scope of Unprecedented Economic Challenges

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kelly Allen kallen@wvpolicy.org or 304-612-4180

Charleston, WV – The Republican COVID-19 relief plan unveiled yesterday fails to meet the significant needs facing West Virginia families and doesn’t address unprecedented state and local fiscal crises, which means it will make the recession longer and more painful, Kelly Allen, interim executive director of the WV Center on Budget and Policy said in a statement today.

“More than 3 in 10 West Virginia renters are behind on rent and facing housing insecurity because of the public health crisis and recession. Food insecurity among children and adults has spiked across our state. This crisis is bigger than any in our lifetime, and the GOP’s proposal does not meet the moment or the need faced by our state’s residents. The proposal fails to prioritize those who’ve been hit the hardest by the economic crisis. The lack of broad-based support for state and local governments will make our economic recovery much longer and more painful by forcing cuts that result in job losses and slashed public services when they are needed the most.

There is no increase in SNAP benefits to help people buy food for themselves and their families, no funding for homelessness services or additional rental vouchers, and substantially less money for laid-off workers even though record numbers of COVID cases across our state and continued weekly job losses at a rate higher than the Great Recession mean that many people are unlikely to be able to return to work soon.

And it does not include any new broad-based aid to state and local governments to prevent layoffs of public workers and cuts to schools, Medicaid, or critical public services, despite bipartisan calls from the National Governors’ Association (NGA). The bill also fails to address the NGA’s other major ask, an increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to states to help address the cost of increased public health costs and Medicaid enrollment due to widespread job losses.

Our U.S. Senators, Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin, must put people first by calling on congressional leaders to do more and pass a better relief package, especially for state and local governments and low-income West Virginians who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic and are facing the greatest financial hurdles. Our federal response must be proportionate to the magnitude of the crisis we are facing, not bound by an arbitrary cost cap.”

-Kelly Allen, interim executive director of WV Center on Budget and Policy

New research released last week by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows the number of people struggling to get enough to eat has increased dramatically and a huge number of people are falling behind on rent — just as the national moratorium on evictions expires. While tens of millions of people are facing serious financial hardship, Black, Latino, Indigenous, and immigrant people have been hit the hardest because of structural racism that creates disparities in education, employment, housing, and health care. In West Virginia young people, women, and Black workers have been disproportionately impacted by job losses and stand to lose the most if current unemployment insurance provisions are reduced.  

During these negotiations, Congress must prioritize support for people hard-hit by the crisis by making sure they get the help they need and work to prevent states, cities, and towns from making deep budget cuts that will hurt tens of millions.

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy is calling on Congress to negotiate a bipartisan agreement that:

  • Provides additional federal funding for Medicaid programs and direct grants to states, territories, and tribes to protect core public services including education and health care, in addition to aid for local governments;
  • Temporarily increases SNAP benefits and housing assistance so people can get enough to eat and keep a roof over their heads;
  • Temporarily makes the Child Tax Credit available to the lowest-income children and expands the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-paid workers not raising kids in their homes;  
  • Creates an emergency fund for states to help people who are falling through the cracks and to create subsidized jobs programs when workers can participate safely; and 
  • Continues expanded unemployment benefits at CARES Act levels.

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