While the House’s omnibus federal aid package — approved May 15 — includes provisions that would help millions of families rebuild during the pandemic, the Senate Majority’s COVID-19 relief legislation lacks crucial provisions needed to help people across the nation put food on the table, access medical care, and pay rent.
This legislation has glaring and catastrophic omissions. Despite record high food insecurity — Census data from July reveal that 25.8 million households in the U.S., including 1.9 million in Florida, did not have enough to eat over a seven-day-period — the legislation does not increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Additionally, the bill package includes no new fiscal aid for states and localities to preserve critical public services and avoid layoffs of public workers. According to Moody’s Analytics, Florida is projected to face a staggering $8 billion revenue hole, and without adequate federal dollars to help mitigate the shortfall, our state is likely to see deep cuts to Medicaid, K-12 education, environmental conservation efforts, and mental health care.
This proposal doesn’t come close to meeting the needs of our state and the people who call it home.
Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio must put people first by calling on congressional leaders to do more and pass a better relief package, especially for state and local governments and low-income Floridians who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic and are facing the greatest financial hurdles.