As the Senate is expected to consider a pared-down coronavirus relief package this week, the U.S. bishops’ conference is calling for immediate and substantial aid.
The head of the U.S. bishops’ domestic justice committee, Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, called on Congress to pass a bill “that meets the urgent needs of the nation.”
“It is imperative to act soon,” Archbishop Coakley said in a statement Tuesday. “May God grant all those participating in negotiations a heart that eagerly responds to the cry of the poor.”
Congress has passed several relief packages during the coronavirus epidemic, providing loans to small businesses and nonprofits to keep employees on payroll and expanding unemployment benefits, among other actions.
Coakley, however, warned that those measures “are running out” as families are threatened by hunger, private schools are facing closure, virus cases are rising in prisons, and local governments are seeing funding shortfalls.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Tuesday that Republicans would bring up a “targeted” COVID relief bill, “focused on some of the very most urgent healthcare, education, and economic issues.”