U.S. Senate COVID-19 relief proposal falls far short of need across N.C.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

It is foolhardy to look at the current state of hardship in our country and fail to offer a genuine response. Yet the U.S. Senate did just that yesterday with its failure to pass adequate COVID-19 relief that matches the need facing families, communities, and state and local governments across the country.

North Carolinians can’t afford half measures from Congress as more than a million households are at risk of eviction and more than half a million remain out of work. People — Republicans and Democrats, Black, brown and white — support aid that would keep neighbors from being pushed into poverty and ensure that state and local governments can sustain services and the jobs of so many North Carolinians.

So long as our leaders delay their response or offer half-measures such as Presidential Executive Orders and paltry Senate bills, the response to the pandemic will be drawn out and recovery delayed.

The fundamental reality that policymakers have failed to fully grasp is that helping people helps the economy. Allowing hardship and uncertainty to persist is not only cruel but bad economics.

People and the economy need the strong foundation that direct aid and public institutions can uniquely provide as we all await the containment and mitigation of the public health crisis.

We may have gotten used to politics as usual, but the situation facing North Carolinians is anything but. As this once in a generation crisis continues, Republicans and Democrats must work together to make sure people can keep a roof over their head, put food on the table, and support their children, families and neighbors.

We demand a public response that is worthy of the lives unnecessarily lost in this pandemic, and the lives devastated by the economic fallout. Future generations will not forgive us for anything less.

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