Washington (December 21, 2020) –
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement upon
passage of a $900 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief package.
“Workers, small businesses, and
families may be getting an ounce of relief in this coronavirus package, but
they need a ton more. With millions literally lining up in bread lines,
this relief package isn’t even half a loaf. It is a terrible day in Congress
that we see the tragedy of hunger, unemployment, illness, and death, but Republican
cruelty and partisanship overrule compassion and commonsense. This
package must be only the beginning of our work to secure trillions more in
aid for the American people. They deserve so much more than this.
“A one-time direct cash payment,
as well as extensions of vital nutrition funding and a national eviction
moratorium will provide desperately-needed help during these darkest and
coldest winter months. Massachusetts small businesses will receive another
round of payroll assistance. And the extension of enhanced unemployment
benefits for our gig workers and independent contractors – a program I fought
to create at the beginning of the pandemic – will provide some temporary
“But expanding Pell Grants is
not the kind of relief that cancellation of student debt would provide. A
business tax credit is not the full paid sick time that all Americans deserve.
As utility bills pile up, legislation that does not prevent the cruel shut-off
of gas, electric, or water will lead to massive, unabated energy
debt. Broadband funding that ignores the successful E-rate – a proven
program that is ready to connect vulnerable students now to the internet – will
do little to close the ‘homework gap’. Meanwhile, states and cities
continue to be punished by Senate Republicans who refuse to provide them aid as
they are left to bear the economic burden resulting from the Trump
administration’s abdication of leadership during the pandemic.
“This deal is better than the
Republican alternative of nothing, but it must only be the beginning – a down
payment on what is to come. This cannot be the last time that Congress speaks
on this issue.
“This January will mark the end
of the Trump-McConnell era. With the Biden-Harris era set to begin, we must
make comprehensive economic relief a Day One priority for the new Biden
administration. I pledge my commitment to working with President Biden to
pass the largest and most just relief package in our country’s history.”