‘Morally Obscene,’ Says Sanders as McConnell Adjourns Senate for Month-Long Recess Without Deal on Coronavirus Relief

Common Dreams – By Jake Johnson – Friday August 14, 2020

“During the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans think they can take a long vacation while millions of Americans face hunger and eviction.”

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the U.S. Senate for the rest of August on Thursday after failing to come anywhere close to approving another Covid-19 relief package, leaving tens of millions of out-of-work, hungry, and eviction-prone Americans without additional financial aid as the pandemic and economic crisis continue with no end in sight.

“During the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans think they can take a long vacation while millions of Americans face hunger and eviction. That is morally obscene,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in response to McConnell’s decision. “It’s time for the do-nothing Republican Senate to finally do its damn job.”

The departure of the Republican-controlled Senate comes after an attempt to revive Covid-19 relief talks earlier this week quickly failed as Democratic leaders and Trump administration officials remained far apart on key issues, from emergency funding for the U.S. Postal Service to aid to faltering state and local governments. In her weekly press conference Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said White House negotiators refused to budge from their insufficient relief offers.

The Senate is not expected to return until September 8, when economic conditions are likely to be even more dire for the 40 million people at risk of eviction, 30 million facing drastic income cuts due to the lapse in enhanced unemployment benefits, and 14 million households with children that don’t have enough to eat.

“This is pathetic and devastating,” consumer advocacy group Public Citizen tweeted after McConnell adjourned the upper chamber until after Labor Day. Just before skipping town, the Kentucky Republican advanced five more of President Donald Trump’s right-wing judicial nominees.

Earlier Thursday, the Labor Department reported (pdf) that 963,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week—a figure that corporate news outlets presented as the first time since March that initial weekly jobless claims dipped below a million.

But Julia Wolfe, state economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, wrote in a blog post Thursday that the Labor Department’s report downplays the number of workers who filed for unemployment benefits last week. The actual figure, according to Wolfe, is 1.3 million.

“Astonishingly high numbers of workers continue to claim UI, and we are still 12.9 million jobs short of February employment levels,” Wolfe wrote. “And yet, Senate Republicans allowed the across-the-board $600 increase in weekly UI benefits—the most effective economic policy crisis response so far—to expire.”

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Video source: www.youtube.com

PS Which side do you believe?

Posted by Teri Perticone

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