As leaders of Pima County Interfaith with the Arizona Interfaith Network, we are writing to ask for your urgent action to ensure the most vulnerable are protected in this next round of stimulus.
Each day, we see the increasing devastation wrought on our communities by the preventable public health and economic crises that have resulted from the Coronavirus pandemic, and we are eager for the Senate to work in a substantive way to pass legislation and address these mounting issues. Our faith teaches us that each person is beloved by God and worthy of dignity and humanity. The approach that we take to address these dual crises must reflect that. We urge you to work with your colleagues in the Senate to move thoughtfully and swiftly.
While there are many issues that must be addressed in the near and long term, the nation is engaged in an unprecedented epidemiological and economic crisis response. We must act now and boldly to ensure families have a roof over their heads, water to wash their hands, and food to fill their bellies. The best way to keep the economy afloat and save lives is to support our families.
As such, we urge you to work with your Senate colleagues immediately to:
Support the full $600 per week federal supplemental unemployment insurance. This alone has helped keep families out of the streets and our economy running. Anything less will unnecessarily place families in poverty and will hurt the collective wellbeing of our
country and economy.
- All taxpaying adults must receive the $1200 (plus $500 per child) stimulus payments. In the last stimulus bill, mixed status families and ITIN holders were left out which left many in precarious situations and caused undue and unnecessary economic strife for these families. All taxpayers must be included in this next round of stimulus.
- Congress must provide additional housing funding ($100 billion) and broaden a freeze on evictions, which could prevent homelessness and, as multiple studies have shown, save costs in the long run.
- Ensure that both state and local governments are funded through this important time of recovery. Their roles as both employers and providers of invaluable services (such as education, healthcare, etc.) can help to speed up the recovery – if we do not slash their budgets. We urge the Senate to include $500 billion for state governments and an additional $200 billion for local governments who are witnessing their tax revenue dry up.
- Fund Testing, Tracing, and Supported Isolation (TTSI) efforts for our communities, as well as enhanced PPE procurement for our nation’s First Responders and Health Care Professionals. To safely open our country will require an unprecedented investment to combat this public health crisis. Families will not return to movie theaters, restaurants, and ‘normal’ until they believe they will not put their lives or the ones they love at risk. TTSI is the only way to open up safely and preserve the dignity of life for all.
- Increase the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit by 15 percent during this emergency to ensure households have enough resources to avoid the hard choice of choosing between paying their bills or paying for food. To keep families off the streets and out of danger, we must keep their bellies full.
- To ensure the burden of childcare does not disproportionately fall on low-income and essential workers, Congress needs to include ample funding for childcare. If we are to ask our essential workers to labor on the frontline, we have an obligation to ensure their children are in safe and educational environments while they are away.
Pima County Interfaith