STATEMENT: GOP’s COVID-19 relief package falls short of meeting Mainers’ needs

Sens. Collins and King should reject the McConnell-Trump plan and fight for real relief for Mainers

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Republican COVID-19 relief plan unveiled yesterday fails to meet the needs of Maine families or address our unprecedented state fiscal crisis. Without significant improvement, the plan would make the recession longer and more painful, said the Maine Center for Economic Policy.

Garrett Martin, executive director of MECEP, released the following statement:

“Mainers are experiencing a sharp rise in hardship as a result of COVID-19. Roughly 90,000 Mainers have lost work; 36,000 kids are going hungry because their households cannot afford enough food; and 29,000 Mainers are behind on rent, putting them at risk of eviction.

“The proposal unveiled today by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell falls well short of providing the real relief Mainers need. It cuts unemployment benefits and does not include any support for additional food assistance, homelessness services, or rental vouchers. It also fails to meaningfully confront the state revenue crisis that — left unaddressed — will cause more layoffs, cuts to core public services such as schools and health care, and a longer recession.

“Mainers need their federal leaders to stand with them during this unprecedented crisis. Our Senate delegation should reject this half-measure and push for real relief to put Maine on the road to recovery.”

During upcoming negotiations, Maine’s Congressional delegation must prioritize Mainers’ ability to meet basic needs and work to prevent states, cities, and towns from being forced to make deep budget cuts that will delay the recovery and hurt Maine families.

MECEP is calling on Congress to immediately negotiate a bipartisan agreement that:

  • provides additional federal funding for Medicaid programs and direct grants to states, territories and tribes to protect core public services such as education, public health and transportation — in addition to aid for local governments;
  • temporarily increases SNAP benefits, housing assistance, and other social support programs so people can get enough to eat, keep a roof over their heads, and keep up with their bills; and
  • continues the expanded unemployment benefits approved by Congress in March.