As leaders and clergy of Central Texas Interfaith, 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 addressing 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.
Invest $175 Billion in Public Education to Reopen Schools Safely and Close the Digital Divide. Less than one percent of federal pandemic relief has gone to K-12 education. To safely reopen schools and make distance learning work, Congress must fund: resources to modify classrooms, cafeterias, and school buses to permit social distancing; intensify instruction and support for students traumatized by the impact of the coronavirus on their families and communities; provide regular testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) for students and educators; implement rigorous cleaning and ventilation standards; make broadband internet available for every child; and more.
The relief package needs to include at least $175 billion to stabilize education funding, at least $4 billion to equip students with hot spots and devices to help narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap, directed funding for PPE, and relief for student loan borrowers.
- Increase federal share of Medicaid costs while requiring Medicaid Maintenance of Effort. If the federal government pays more of the cost of Texas’ Medicaid program, more state funds will remain to cover other essential costs. When the federal government does contribute a greater share of the cost of Texas Medicaid, our state must continue offering the same Medicaid services to our families.
Central Texas Interfaith
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