Jamaal Bowman: Democrat calls on Congress to adopt another Covid relief plan


In a letter to Democratic House leaders, shared first with CNN, Bowman explained why he believes another Covid relief program is needed.

“We have now lost 800,000 American lives to COVID 19 – double the number we lost in World War II. This number is shocking and cannot continue to climb without further federal intervention,” Bowman writes. “Our defense budget is $ 770 billion a year but we are not doing enough to defend ourselves against a global pandemic that is killing us directly and indirectly through the mental health crisis it has created.”

Bowman’s call for more congressional action to tackle the pandemic comes nine months after Congress adopted its latest relief plan. In this $ 1.9 trillion bill, Congress provided stimulus checks, an improved child tax credit, unemployment assistance, direct aid to states and municipalities, nutritional assistance, a housing assistance, tax credits for families and workers, investments in education and childcare, and health insurance subsidies. . But most of these programs have deadlines for when they run out of funding and the pandemic continues to persist.

Bowman points out that this new emergency supplement should specifically address how the pandemic is affecting children and their mental health by including a bereavement fund for children who have lost a primary or secondary caregiver for reasons related to Covid, the cancellation of federal student loans, cancellation of housing-related debt for rents and overdue mortgage payments, reinstatement of a moratorium on evictions and a moratorium on foreclosures, and renewal of funding for the education, among other provisions.

“The pandemic has and will continue to change us for years to come. We must act now, and the surest way to do that in Congress is to wield our power of the stock market and direct much-needed funds to our children,” families, and communities, ”he adds.

Bowman’s push also comes as Congress has embarked on new spending on multiple fronts amid a long list of legislative agenda items still on its calendar. Congress recently passed a $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and is trying to get a separate $ 1.75 trillion social safety net bill, though. that its exact price may change in the middle of negotiations in the Senate. The chamber also faces increased pressure to pass an election and voting bill that has already passed the chamber.

When the March stimulus package was passed, many Democrats said more government action would be needed to support the economy, help recovery and bring relief to Americans who continue to be affected by the pandemic. .

US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra told reporters on Tuesday his department may need more money from Congress as it has $ 10 billion in federal relief funds left for the tests on the 50 billion dollars made available by Congress in March.

“Of the $ 50 billion that has been made available for testing, we still have about $ 10 billion left. Are we going to have more than $ 10 billion in needs and costs on Covid, especially when it comes to testing? Chances are we will. , depending, again, on where Omicron takes us. And so that gives you an idea of ​​where those funds are, ”Becerra said.

“I don’t know if we’ll need more money or not,” Becerra added. “But what I can tell you is if we have Omicron like we have had Delta, you can kind of see where it’s going.”

Republicans, however, have criticized the Democrats’ latest Covid relief plan and government spending as partisan wishlists of liberal agenda items that are not sufficiently targeted, presenting an uphill battle for them. future Covid relief efforts.