Fourth Coronavirus Package Not Enough

This bill expands loan programs, but does little else

April 21, 2020

Earlier today, the Senate passed their fourth piece of Coronavirus response legislation. The bill is expected to pass through a vote in the House on Thursday, after which it will be signed into law by President Trump. 

The bill is little but an expansion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, two loan programs through which small businesses and nonprofits can address their personal economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. It includes an additional $370 billion in funding for the PPP and EIDL, as well as $100 billion for increased healthcare capacity and coronavirus testing.

The bill does not include several important provisions which individuals, civil society organizations, and even other members of Congress have been clamoring for ever since Congress passed the CARES Act on March 27. The bill does not include relief for states and local governments, which have been stuck in a crisis of underfunding and under-resourcement ever since the initial outbreak. The bill also does not include an increase in the maximum SNAP (food stamp) benefit, which would have been a significant boon to working families across this country. 

There are many steps our government could take to provide the needed relief to individuals and families during this time. 

Through our human security campaign, we are working toward passage of several bills which would increase healthcare funding, provide paid sick leave, and reform our criminal justice system, among other things. Several other bills introduced this past week are also of note in this regard, such as H.R. 6553, a bill introduced by Rep. Rashida Tlaib to provide direct monthly payments to American citizens, and H.R. 6515, a bill introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar to cancel rent and mortgage payments. 

The latest coronavirus relief bill is as notable for what it does not include, as for what it does. Americans deserve better than a relief bill with the significant gaps included in this one. We are working with our Congressional and civil society partners to ensure that the fifth piece of legislation fills those gaps. 

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