Today we have one simple task: to call our Senators and tell them to pass the HEROES Act and reject the HEALS Act.
It's one simple task because the choice is simple: the HEROES Act, which has already passed the House and which would actually help a lot of good Americans get through this pandemic -- or the HEALS Act, actually a suite comprising 10 different bills, which is a steaming piece of dung. The HEALS Act's centerpiece -- a provision that would not only effectively give big corporations immunity from lawsuits when they reopen so stupidly that they cause you to get sick and die, but would let them sue workers who demand safety from said illness and death -- is noxious enough. But the bill would actively injure the American people in other ways: it would slash enhanced unemployment benefits by $400/week, it would create a commission to cut Social Security benefits "behind closed doors," and it would funnel $25 billion of your money to defense contractor corporations so they can continue to flush money down the toilet on planes that don't work. The bill would also continue the Paycheck Protection Program, which has become a notorious corporate welfare mill, with minimal additional restraints on the PPP continuing to hand out taxpayer money to big corporations. And of course the bill would also do negative damage, as it would allocate exactly zero dollars to our upcoming election, our Post Office, our states and localities, and our public schools they're so hot to reopen so they all become COVID hotspots.
But in the meantime, the HEROES Act would -- at the risk of turning this into a Goofus and Gallant strip -- help fund our states and localities, help fund our Post Office, extend unemployment benefits as they are through the end of January, and it would do all that without the stupid "corporate immunity" or "cut Social Security behind closed doors" or "hand out even more corporate welfare to defense contractor" provisions. The HEROES Act would also expand certain working family tax cuts and repeal a big bankster tax-cut-for-the-rich that "somehow" made it into the CARES Act. It would also cut working families another stimulus check -- a more sizable one than the CARES Act did, and also a more sizable one than the HEALS Act would. It would extend and expand national moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures; the HEALS Act would let the current, more limited moratoriums on these things expire immediately. And, not for nothing, but the HEROES Act's COVID-19 testing and tracing provisions are better than those of the HEALS Act. Our President loves bragging about the number of tests we've done, but America has over 330 million inhabitants, so bragging about how you've done more tests than, say, Luxembourg is just empty bragging. I chose Luxembourg for a reason, of course: that nation performs over five times as many tests per million inhabitants as we do, and they have noticeably fewer cases per million and deaths per million, too. (If your right-wing uncle says it's easier for Luxembourg because they're smaller, just remind him that great nations don't make excuses.)
I hate to make it seem to cut-and-dried, but it is: the HEROES Act is a good bill, and the HEALS Act is a bad one. I wish Republicans were less of a clown car than they are -- it seems to me it would be quite easy to create a conservative COVID-19 relief bill, one that would (for example) actually protect mom-and-pop shops instead of pretending nationwide restaurant chains with hundreds of employees are "small businesses." But they are a clown car -- indeed, one would better conclude that Republicans saw this ongoing pandemic as yet another opportunity to convert trillions more of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars into corporate welfare handouts for their cronies, as well as an opportunity to destroy even more of the institutions (like our public schools and our Post Office) that actually sustain a civilization through hard times like these. Needless to say, these actions demand that we issue them not merely a decisive defeat at the polls this year, but a humiliating one, one that discourages any of their kind from ever holding office again. In the meantime, we tell our Senators today to pass the HEROES Act and reject the HEALS Act; as always, you can find your Senators' phone numbers using the tools in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or the bottom of this page, if you're on a cellphone), and you may have to call their local numbers if you can't reach their D.C. number. Good luck, and God bless.