After months of negotiations, Congress has passed an emergency COVID-19 relief package that will provide urgently needed support to Nebraskans. While the passage of this long-awaited relief will provide direct payments, housing assistance, increased support for many families, and more, this bill still falls short of meeting the level of need in our Nebraska communities.
Along with a large spending bill ensuring the government remains funded through the coming fiscal year, another round of much-anticipated covid relief was passed, including:
- Economic impact payments to individuals and families, including mixed-status families who were previously excluded
- An extension of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s eviction moratorium through January and rental assistance to households at risk of housing instability or homelessness
- Increased SNAP maximum benefits by 15%
- An extension and $300 boost of unemployment benefits through March
- A moratorium on aging out of foster care, allowing older youth to continue to receive foster care supports, and increased funding and flexibility for older foster youth programming
- Protecting patients from surprise medical billing
- An extension of the timeline of CARES Act funding already available to Nebraska
This package fell short in providing sustainable and inclusive support for Nebraskans continuing to endure the realities of the pandemic. In the new year, there must be action to establish:
- Increased funding for Medicaid and the creation of a special marketplace enrollment period to meet the higher health care needs
- Enforceable COVID safety protections for Nebraskans who work in the meat and poultry industry
- Positive immigration laws that create stability for essential workers, long-time residents, and communities
- Solutions to the eviction crisis, with more than just a short-term fix pushing evictions later into the winter
- More fiscal relief for state and local governments
Please note: While Congress has passed an emergency COVID-19 relief package, the President has yet to approve and sign the bill. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the status of the bill.
Your advocacy and calls to Congress during this challenging time made a difference! While Nebraskans should soon begin to receive some of these critical supports, we look forward to our joint continued calls to action that will be needed in the coming year.