“This is a time for urgent bipartisan action, and in this case, I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s urgent message propels the newest relief bill past opposition in the Senate, as it awaits President Trump’s signature. After facing some delays among concerns from Republican senators, the now passed legislation aims to aid Americans directly affected by the coronavirus.
Specifically, it provides paid sick and family leave for some U.S. workers impacted by the illness, expands unemployment assistance, provides nutrition assistance, and provides a greater abundance of resources needed for virus testing.
While this is a step in the right direction to provide relief for the country during this time of crisis, Senator McConnell expressed serious concerns and a call to action that still needs to be made regarding further economic aid to Americans and small businesses.
“…it does not help enough Americans and, crucially, it adds even more uncertainty for small businesses.” the Senator shared on Twitter. McConnell continues, “It will make it all the more urgent for the Senate to pass bold legislation to help small businesses.”
Earlier this month, the Trump administration approved eight billion dollars in funds to respond to the coronavirus threat, which was the first congressional measure addressing the pandemic. Now with the passing of this second bill, action towards lingering concerns for additional aid are already underway and efforts are being focused on a third, larger relief measure that could total up to one trillion dollars.
“Americans need cash now, and the president wants cash now. And I mean now, in the next two weeks.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin demonstrates a sense of deep urgency in his remarks, working with President Trump on the relief package and requesting roughly one trillion dollars from Congress.
Mnuchin asserted at a White House press conference on Tuesday, “We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” with plans to have the funds directed towards small businesses, loan guarantees for industries such as hotels and airlines, and a stimulus package for workers.
This upcoming measure alongside the one passed just this Wednesday, exhibits the amount of pressure and urgency that the COVID-19 situation is demanding from government officials.
“We’re going to work here in warp speed for the Senate, which almost never does anything quickly,” Senator McConnell communicated to reporters this past Tuesday. “These are not ordinary times, this is not an ordinary situation, so it requires extraordinary measures.”
There is hesitation however about how exactly these trillion dollar measures will be executed.
“It’s just the mechanism that’s the question,” a senior Republican congressman stated to NPR. The congressman admitted that “the most difficult piece” of this relief bill will be how the government is going to structure direct payments to Americans. He remained confident however that payments will happen.
Perhaps one of the most crucial actions taken place was President Trump invoking the Defense Production Act in order to allow private firms to produce critical goods in response to urgent need. The invocation basically allows the entire process of production to move forward at a much faster pace, creating resources we desperately need such as medical supply masks, ventilators, and the coronavirus test kits.
As time goes on, we’ll begin to see a more clear picture regarding our response to this dire situation the country now faces. Americans are no strangers to change however, so let this trying time be an opportunity to yet again display our resilience as we rise to meet the adversary before us.
John Rosenbaum is a trusted Orange County personal injury attorney.