Blog Posts > Statement: Republicans’ “Skinny” COVID Relief Package Failed to Pass Senate. Urgent Need Remains for a Plan that is Proportionate to Magnitude of Crisis
September 10, 2020

Statement: Republicans’ “Skinny” COVID Relief Package Failed to Pass Senate. Urgent Need Remains for a Plan that is Proportionate to Magnitude of Crisis

For Immediate Release: September 10, 2020

Contact: Kelly Allen, 304-612-4180

Charleston, WV – Today a Republican-proposed COVID relief package failed to pass the U.S. Senate. While West Virginia’s communities desperately need additional relief, the provisions included in this legislation were far too meager to meet the immediate and ongoing needs of West Virginia families, many of whom are struggling to manage work, child care, and school while trying to stay healthy and keep food on the table. 

The proposal of this “skinny” COVID package — so-called because it failed to address many critical needs across the country, including those of struggling families and state and local governments — was deeply disappointing. 

The failed package had no increase in SNAP food assistance benefits and no increase in rental assistance, despite millions of adults saying their households didn’t get enough to eat or they are behind on rent. It provided only half as much in federal unemployment benefits to people who have lost their jobs and can’t find work ($300/week instead of the original $600/week under the CARES Act), even though job losses remain high, particularly among lower-wage workers. And it contained no new fiscal aid to help state and local governments protect core public services such as health care, infrastructure, and transportation.

“Today’s COVID proposal, supported by West Virginia’s Senator Capito, fell far short of an adequate response to the continued challenges facing West Virginia families and communities. By failing to include measures to increase food security, rental assistance, and aid to state and local governments, this package would have left our state and its people without the support they need to recover from the ongoing health and economic crisis.

“West Virginians are counting on our Congressional leaders to put people and communities first. We urge Senator Capito to work with her caucus, the Administration, and Congressional Democrats to pass a strong COVID relief package that adequately addresses the critical needs confronting families in West Virginia and across our country.

“A robust COVID relief package that prioritizes families and communities must: 

  • Provide additional, temporary federal funding for Medicaid programs and direct grants to states, territories, and tribes to protect core public services such as education, infrastructure, and first-responders, in addition to aid for local governments;
  • Temporarily increase SNAP benefits and housing assistance so people can get enough to eat and keep a roof over their heads;
  • Create 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;
  • Temporarily make the Child Tax Credit available to the lowest-income children and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-paid workers not raising kids in their homes; and
  • Continue expanded unemployment benefits.”

-Kelly Allen, interim executive director of WVCBP

Each day that Congress fails to provide additional relief, our communities continue to suffer. But our members of Congress must act with urgency not only to pass the next package, but to ensure that the package is robust enough to meet the immense and varied needs of our state and our people.

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