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The Senate’s approval of a COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus package—seemingly on track toward House approval as we write this—marked a significant first step. Cash payments and increased unemployment benefits will provide some help to many, but in truth this bill did more for corporations than people. Much more will be needed to support American families, particularly in the communities of color that have been especially hard hit by the pandemic and the economic crisis it has caused.

“While it provides some needed short-term help, the current bill represents just the first, small step in a journey toward an economy that truly works for all.”

While the payments to families, expanded unemployment insurance and support for small businesses included in the bill will help to slow the bleeding, they represent just the beginning of what we must do. We need a plan for a just recovery that supports workers and families and recognizes the special challenges faced by communities of color, where families and small businesses have fewer resources to fall back on. In addition, we also need a long-term plan that addresses structural racism and inequality while moving us toward a more environmentally sound, healthier, more sustainable economy.

While it provides some needed short-term help, the current bill represents just the first, small step in a journey toward an economy that truly works for all.

In the near term, another round of relief and economic stimulus will be needed, and soon. As they consider next steps, Congress and the president must consider the following:

Speaker Pelosi has stated that another round of recovery legislation is already in the works. Greenlining’s proposals, and the values they represent, should be considered in the follow up legislation, but even they represent just a beginning. The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated glaring structural and racial inequities in American society. It’s long past time we had a serious conversation about how to rectify them permanently.

Citations

[1] The coronavirus recession could become a depression - Vox ➤ https://www.vox.com/2020/3/23/21188900/coronavirus-stock-market-recession-depression-trump-jobs-unemployment[2] Pelosi: Democrats eyeing more cash payments in next emergency bill | TheHill ➤ https://thehill.com/homenews/house/489587-pelosi-democrats-eyeing-more-cash-payments-in-next-emergency-bill