Congressional debates over what to include in the COVID-19 relief bill has been the main focus in Washington, D.C., this week.
Yet, Democrats and Republicans seem no closer to passing a bill that will bring help to those who need it most. More than 160,000 deaths have occurred in the U.S. alone, and the lives of millions have been affected by the crisis.
With the August recess at hand, congressional leaders will be returning to their home districts without anything to assist their constituents through this crisis. This failure to reach an agreement constitutes an exceptional failure of Congress, particularly for the Senate as the House of Representatives passed a COVID-19 relief bill — The HEROES Act — nearly three months ago.
Not reaching an agreement fails those living with HIV, communities of color, LGBTQ+ people, those living in the South, those living in poverty, those living in rural communities and those living with disabilities.
Without a congressional COVID-19 relief bill, more than 30 million Americans, who are currently relying on unemployment benefits for a variety of reasons, would be without reliable income. Those whose lines of work have been severely disrupted due to COVID-19 would also be without benefits, as would those who are immunocompromised and cannot return to work due to their COVID-19 risk.
If Congress cannot come to a consensus over the COVID-19 relief bill, those who have lost their jobs, their income and their financial security due to COVID-19 will also be at significant risk of being evicted due to the lack of eviction protections that were provided in a previous COVID-19 relief bill.
With Congress holding the fate of many who have suffered from the effects of COVID-19 in their hands, now is an important time to reach out to your elected leaders for action. AIDS United is hoping to see a congressional deal that takes action to protect vulnerable communities.