Senate Democrats propose $350 billion Economic Justice Act


Senate Democrats proposed the Economic Justice Act late last week, which seeks to invest $350 billion into low-income communities, predominantly affecting communities of color, as part of the newest COVID-19 relief package (CNBC). ~

According to Forbes, the plan has 10 initiatives: 

Create the Childcare Is Essential Program, investing $50 billion in child care providers and early childhood educators, ensuring that working families have access to child care; expand and improve access to community healthcare, investing $40 billion in community-based behavioral, mental, and primary health care providers to insure there is care available in high-need areas; create a jobs, training, and at-risk youth initiative, using $25 billion to connect workers to in-demand jobs, support and subsidize jobs for low-income individuals and families, and reform child support under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act; invest $20 billion in capital and support for community-focused lenders and small businesses; build “21st century infrastructure”, spending $115 billion for high-speed internet, affordable housing, community development, K-12 public school and library construction, and “environmental justice”; create a $40 billion “homeowner down payment” tax credit that provides $15,000 per family to expand homeownership; establish a housing tax credit for low-income families, spending $30 billion to help reduce rent and utilities to equal 30% of income for low-income individuals and families and to build new low-income rental properties; set aside $15 billion to expand Medicaid in non-expansion states; use another $15 billion to expand Medicaid coverage to pregnant women for one year postpartum, to implement maternal safety standards, and to improve access to midwife and doula services all to reduce maternal mortality; create an anti-poverty initiative which requires greater shares of federal funding for community and economic development to go toward communities with high and persistent poverty rates. ~

The proposal comes as communities of color are devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic (CNBC).  According to the CDC, black people have a COVID-19 hospitalization rate about 5 times higher than white people; the death toll for black Americans is 22.9% of total US deaths, while African Americans only make up 13.4% of the total US population (Forbes). This also comes as many parts of the CARES act are drawing to a close (CNBC). The House passed its most recent COVID-19 package in May, and the Senate will be debating its next COVID-19 relief package these next few weeks (Politico). ~

The GOP proposal is expected to prioritize liability protection, health care, jobs, and the return to school, and is expected to cost $1 trillion (Forbes). ~

Democrats, on the other hand, are pushing to pass the $3 trillion relief package that was passed by the House in mid-May (Politico). The addition to the House’s package will be paid for, in part, by repurposing $200 billion of unspent funds from the CARES Act (Forbes). There will likely still be concerns from Republicans about the cost, and the bill is unlikely to gain bipartisan support (Forbes). ~


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