Where’s the “Relief” in Mitch McConnell’s COVID-19 Relief Bill?

WASHINGTON, DC (July 28, 2020) — Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the Health Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act, which would provide $1 trillion in federal aid. Notably, the bill does not include critical improvements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which would address the growing crisis of widespread food insecurity.

In response, Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, said:

“Where’s the ‘relief’ in Mitch McConnell’s COVID-19 Relief bill? Does he really think that providing more funds to help small businesses will help address the massive — and growing — food insecurity crisis in this country? I think McConnell should be less concerned about the red lines to protect business and more concerned about the bread lines that are forming at food pantries around the country.

“We are facing an urgent crisis, and the Senate continues to look the other way. They must boost SNAP immediately for all who need it. SNAP is and always has been our country’s frontline defense against hunger. And in this moment, its unique value can help provide life-saving benefits that keep Americans healthy, safe, and well-nourished, and boost economic activity to support local businesses and workers throughout the food chain.

“We expect that there are an astounding 80 million people at risk of hunger in this country, and the numbers are still rising. Congress has a critical responsibility to address this crisis, particularly since the Administration has failed to fully meet the needs of all those facing hunger. Even USDA’s deeply flawed “Farmers to Families” program seems to be a distraction for the agency to avoid the obvious need to strengthen SNAP and other federal nutrition programs.”

Last week, MAZON joined partners from around the country in a SNAP Day of Action, urging the Senate to prioritize SNAP in its next COVID-19 response bill.