Families Need Congress to Prioritize Economic Relief: 5 Measures to Promote Child and Family Health

In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, we are disheartened to see the Senate’s swift movement to confirm a replacement to the Supreme Court while continuing to leave negotiations on a bipartisan COVID relief package stalled and families struggling. Millions of people across the country have lost income as a result of the pandemic, leading to unprecedented and widespread spikes in hardship, particularly severe among households with children. Months have gone by since the House passed the comprehensive HEROES Act, which has since been revised in an effort to reach a bipartisan agreement in Congress, with families placed in the crossfire of uncoordinated and hindered efforts to provide another round of relief. It is critical that the Senate refocuses their attention from partisan conflicts about the next Supreme Court Justice to passing adequate and urgently needed legislation to ameliorate these hardships and address the twin public health and economic crises. Children and families are struggling today: their needs cannot continue to be neglected and overshadowed. Time is running out, but solutions are within reach; we urge Congress to resume bipartisan discussions – and pass a COVID relief package that includes the following measures that promote child and family health:

  1. Provide direct cash transfers until the economy recovers that are inclusive of immigrants and mixed status families and provide equal or higher payments for children recognizing that families with children – particularly those with young children – are at a greater risk of poverty than households without children.
  2. Increase SNAP benefits by at least 15% for all participants, as was done during the Great Recession, in order to adequately meet the nutritional needs of families with low-incomes and reduce food insecurity.
  3. Implement a nationwide moratorium on all eviction and foreclosures during and immediately following the national emergency and establish an Emergency Rental Assistance fund to provide rapid response funding for families with rent or utility arrearages as a result of the crisis
  4. Provide at least $50 billion for child care to ensure essential employees are able to access child care, support the child care workforce struggling as a result of closures, and keep all child care providers afloat to ensure families maintain access to child care.
  5. Expand access to affordable and adequate health insurance options so all families, including children and adults regardless of immigration status, are able to access medical care, prescriptions, and vaccines when they need them without having to sacrifice other basic needs.

We must put people over politics; instead of prioritizing a divisive Supreme Court confirmation, the Senate needs to unite and return their focus to the truly urgent and colossal economic and health threat facing the country. It is critical that our leaders come together now to immediately pass a comprehensive stimulus package that helps stabilize families across America.