By: Stephen Lynch, Columnist
The CARES Act was passed early at the beginning of the economic shutdown predicated by the speedy spread of the coronavirus across the globe. The act added additional benefits to unemployment programs and provided households with $1,200 to help stem the economic collapse that was on the verge of happening as businesses were forced to close to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
This act was passed in March, and expired in July, and while the House of Representatives were able to pass legislation (i.e., the HEROES Act), the Republican majority Senate is gridlocked and unwilling to budge on the budget that they deem appropriate for this calamitous issue. Therefore, I believe conservative lawmakers have demonstrated a genuine lack of empathy for American families by not providing financial aid to those in need, and instead have drawn a partisan line in the sand and staunchly refuse to act.
For me, there is a clear indicator to why Republicans will not act further: they believe creating this rift of partisanship will split moderate voters in their favor even though it is they who are unwilling to act. The rift between Senate Democrats and Republicans is a bifurcation which unfortunately represents the voting population.
The Republicans lambast Democrats as being too forthcoming in their financial requirements which would call for widespread monetary support of all those who are currently struggling due to coronavirus in their next aid package. While Democrats excoriate Republicans who have decided that the Democrat bill must be slimmed down in its effort to provide help. Thus I see a clear divide where one side wants to provide vital, necessary aid to the American people, and another side which has deemed American financial well-being not worth the extra buck.
Republicans appear to be under the impression that their molasses level of activity will aid them in the upcoming election. They are striving to use the divisiveness commonplace in American politics as a weapon to readjust the aim of blame towards Democrats, especially among their base.
They are banking on the lack of ideological unity among the Democratic party as their best bet for retaining their seats in the upcoming election. The irony is the Republican leader, President Trump, has called for a new disbursement of stimulus payments to American citizens, because even he (although, if we can be honest, probably out of self-interested motives for his re-election campaign) sees that Americans need help in these abnormally trying times.
Here we stand, a populace under the leadership which is unwilling to provide a basic level aid to their people while other countries have both handled the virus considerably better than we have, but also provided the necessary economic footholds for their people. We the people have been let down by Republican leadership which is meant to look out for us, yet has failed in every capacity to this point.
The Republican lead Senate returned to session in early September and cut their previous budget proposal for another stimulus package in half. We must make a stand. We must require our government, Republican or Democrat, to act in accordance with the virtues once inherent to what it meant to be American, and provide us with the aid we need in our time of dire need.