Letter: Pass the HEROES Act, senators

Frank Snyder
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., takes an escalator down in the basement of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Months of inaction from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his crony Sen. Pat Toomey on the HEROES Act, a comprehensive COVID-19 response bill, has gone from disappointing to despicable.

With the GOP’s recent proposal, they have demonstrated that they have zero respect for America’s working families facing an extraordinary challenge.

At a time of record poverty, food insecurity and unemployment, not to mention the unprecedented public health crisis, it seems that Toomey, McConnell and others placing party before people are concerned that the poorest people might have it too good.

More than 48 million people have filed for unemployment benefits for the first time in the past 16 weeks. Now, the unemployed are treated as if they asked to have their livelihoods put in jeopardy.

They did not.

The Great Depression wasn’t a vacation for the millions who lost their jobs; they didn’t choose the breadline over the assembly line.

Our essential workers, who too often are paid poverty wages with little to no health benefits, are being treated as if they are expendable. They are not.

More than 42% of essential workers are people of color, and communities of color are being hit disproportionately harder on all fronts, physically, emotionally and economically, as the toll of 2020’s crises mounts.

Unions are fighting for equality and dignity for working people, meanwhile, Toomey and McConnell are proposing a plan that feeds inequality and ignores systemic discrimination against marginalized communities.

This is wrong.

Workers can’t afford half-measures that would choose to excuse corporations and businesses from their responsibilities, rather than treat fellow Americans with dignity and respect in a time of unprecedented trouble. We must tell the Senate: It’s time to act on the HEROES Act.

                                                                                                                Frank Snyder