Dear Senator and Congressperson,
Happy Thanksgiving. The infection rate for COVID-19 is exploding all across the country. Deaths due to COVID-19 are tearing out the hearts of your constituents all across the country. Happy Thanksgiving.
This map is from the Harvard Global Health Institute. It shows the current COVID-19 hot spots in red. If your state is not in trouble, you get a pass. If not, then stay in D.C. until you have finalized a new relief bill and checks are flowing to the families and businesses across this nation who will not have a Happy Thanksgiving without it.
Millions of people benefitted from the first COVID relief package. It provided needed funds for payrolls, rent, utilities, eviction prevention, daycare and unemployment supplemental support. It provided needed funds for cities and towns throughout the country so jobs could be preserved in all sectors. COVID testing could be widely performed, personal protective equipment could be distributed, and support for health care workers could be given. The first round of support prevented economic collapse, and it saved lives.
Now you’re mired in a pitched partisan battle, planning on an extended holiday break while you leave tens of millions of your constituents wondering if they will have a roof over their head next month, a job to support their family, or money to buy food and medications. I know a little about crafting public policy. It always requires some level of compromise. And as the stakes for the outcomes rise, the importance of being willing to sit and find that middle ground only grows in importance.
There is once again a run on essential consumer products. Hospital workers are once again working ungodly hours, in unsafe conditions and are losing thousands of patients – in isolation from their families – to this virus. Businesses are closing their doors. Parents cannot afford daycare. Schools cannot safely open. Perhaps you’ve missed the news because you’ve been cooped up in your caucus planning your next political move to outfox ‘the other side’. The news is people are dying.
So dear senator and congressperson, this is not just a flu bug that you see represented on the map. It is the impact of a deadly and extremely contagious virus. And the impact is happening in your hometown. The town in which you plan on enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner next week. Remain in D.C. until you can return to your hometown with your head held high, able to tell your constituents that you did your job and found the compromise that results in COVID-19 Relief Package 2. Each of you is responsible to assure you’ve played a positive role in that outcome. With it, we all will have a Happy Thanksgiving.