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09.16.2020 / Press Release

Families need a bill that includes support for the recently unemployed to enroll in affordable health insurance, COBRA subsidies, and protections from surprise medical bills

Washington, D.C.Following President Trump’s push for Senate Republicans to put forward a more comprehensive COVID-19 relief package, and the release of the Problem Solvers Caucus’s March to Common Ground proposal, Families USA executive director Frederick Isasi shared the following comments.

“Our nation is battling its gravest health and financial crises in generations. We need Republican leaders and President Trump to do their job and agree to a bill that matches the enormity of this historic moment.”

Despite his inaction and lack of leadership on the COVID crisis for months, President Trump’s comments on Twitter this morning charging Senate Republicans to produce a relief bill with ‘higher numbers’ is encouraging. While he didn’t include details and his position could shift once again, we strongly support the idea that America’s families need more from Congress. The failed Republican Senate’s  ‘skinny’ bill — one lacking comprehensive measures that help families stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond — just won’t make the mark.

Families need a bill that includes support for the recently unemployed to enroll in affordable health insurance, COBRA subsidies, and protections from surprise medical bills. And states need relief to support families. This includes enhanced FMAP rate to support their Medicaid program costs as well as direct financial support. Congress also should ensure a nationally coordinated, scientifically-based, and properly funded program for testing, contact tracing, and resources to help residents self-quarantine.

In his reasoning for supporting a bigger bill, Trump noted in his tweet, “it all comes back to the USA anyway.” We agree; but more specifically, it all comes back to the millions of families, including children, whose lives have been ravaged in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, there are 6.5 million COVID-19 cases in this country, and there have been approximately 195,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths, with 12,000 deaths in the past two weeks; and 5.4 million are losing health insurance. Yet, in the 124 days since the House passed the comprehensive COVID supports within the HEROES bill, Senate Republicans and President Trump have only sought to advance an anemic package that fails to address what families need or deserve. And while the Problem Solvers Caucus put forth a proposal that tries to move the ball forward, it falls short of providing the level of comprehensive relief that this moment demands. It is time for Congress to act, to pass a bill that is large enough to support America’s families’ healthcare and financial needs.

The foremost job of elected officials is to protect their constituents and to act with goodwill on their behalf. We implore Congress not to shirk this responsibility, this privilege, and to do their jobs. Families across America, including the unemployed, children, and seniors, need a robust relief package now, before the next Congressional recess.

We urge negotiators to remember the numbers — of the cases, the deaths, the unemployed —and go bigger. If ever there was a time to put political folly aside and act for the people, it’s now.  Millions of America’s families are waiting—and watching for it.