As the country continues to navigate the public health and economic crisis, it is critical for Congress to respond to the vital needs of our communities by passing an inclusive, fourth coronavirus relief package. This legislation must ensure that testing, medical care, financial relief, food assistance, and foster care funding covers all Americans, regardless of immigration status.
As federal policymakers continue to consider and negotiate on this next round of legislation, it is crucial to include the following measures:
- Ensure all Americans, regardless of immigration status, are eligible for all public health, worker support, and financial relief measures in the bill. The bill should provide sustained economic relief checks, access to testing and treatment for COVID-19, paid sick and family leave to workers not covered by the CARES Act, and unemployment benefits for all individuals and families, regardless of immigration status.
- Automatically extend work permits for all immigrants with expiring work authorization – including DACA, TPS, and other community members – for family, community, and workforce stability.
- Require strong public health protections and workplace practices – including critical 6-foot physical distancing protections – for food production workers and essential workers;
- End detention and removal operations by releasing people from unnecessary detention and by implementing proactive health plans for the prevention of COVID-19 in detention centers.
- Increase federal foster care funding, extend services to support current and former foster youth, and place a moratorium on discharges from the foster care system until youth reach age 22. This will keep children in their own homes, both to reduce trauma and prevent the child welfare system from being overwhelmed. Boosting the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program and extending services until age 23 will support independent living services and protect housing stability for current and former foster youth.
- Increase SNAP benefits by 15% and the monthly minimum allotment, suspend meal debt collections and the implementation of a new rule designed to limit access to food assistance. Food assistance programs are more critical than ever to keep families afloat, and they can be strengthened to be even more effective at fighting hunger.
- Provide emergency rental assistance to prevent mass evictions and increased homelessness.
- Substantially expand coverage of and access to health care by maintaining and building on increased federal funding of Medicaid, and opening a special enrollment period under the ACA exchange to allow more people to acquire health insurance.
Congress needs to act now to support hardworking Nebraska families. Please contact your Representative and Senators, and urge them to build on previous steps taken to ensure that all families and communities have access to the health care, nutrition, income, and family support that will keep us safe and stable together during this pandemic.
Sen. Deb Fischer (202) 224-6551
Sen. Ben Sasse (202) 224-4224
Dist. 1 – Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (202) 225-4806
Dist. 2 – Rep. Don Bacon (202) 225-4155
Dist. 3 – Rep. Adrian Smith (202) 225-6435
In order to meet the full scale of this public health emergency, it is essential that Congress’ next coronavirus relief package incorporate these measures to secure the health, safety, and well-being of all Nebraskans.