Congress finally agreed to a new COVID relief package, which will help millions more people put food on the table, stay housed, and access lifesaving vaccines.
The path to this legislation was frustrating and fraught and took far too long. But this much I’m sure of: RESULTS volunteers played a key part in the bill’s anti-poverty provisions.
This year RESULTS volunteers had over 500 congressional meetings and published over 700 pieces of media calling for an equitable COVID response. And when housing and nutrition support were under last-minute threat, RESULTS advocates were talking 1:1 with House and Senate staffers right through the final hours of negotiations.
That work paid off. The deal reached by Congress puts a halt to evictions, offers $25 billion in rental assistance, boosts nutrition benefits, strengthens refundable tax credits for low-income families, and invests $4 billion in global access to vaccines – all of which RESULTS volunteers worked to include.
To each of you who played a role in this – whether it was calling Congress, sharing your personal story in an advocacy meeting, getting published, or making a donation to RESULTS – let me say an enormous thank you.
But our work is far, far from finished, as hundreds of millions of people continue to live on the brink.
The historic investment in Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will help millions of people in low-income countries access a COVID vaccine, but millions more are still being left behind. Meanwhile the COVID bill doesn’t include a penny for other urgently needed emergency health, nutrition or education outside the United States.
The U.S. eviction moratorium prevents millions of people from becoming homeless on January 1, but it only holds off that disaster for an extra month. And the new rental and nutrition assistance is still short of what’s required to get through this crisis.
More emergency action is desperately needed from the new administration and Congress in early 2021, and we will build on the remarkable work of RESULTS volunteers this year. But we won’t be content with just a short-term emergency response. Poverty, structural racism, and global inequality were crises long before the pandemic. The pandemic has made them worse, but a COVID vaccine will not change underlying inequities unless it comes with the investment and policy change to actually address them.
Poverty, structural racism, and global inequality were crises long before the pandemic.
That’s why right now, across the country, we’re getting ready for our First 100 Days campaign starting in January. It will be our biggest, most ambitious congressional advocacy campaign ever, aiming to meet with every single congressional office we cover – the entire Senate and three quarters of the House of Representatives. If you’d like to help make this possible with a gift (or another gift!), we are ready to put it into action right away.
We’re going to make sure the new Congress and administration sees the need for bold action and investment – to make not just incremental progress, but systemic change on poverty and the oppression that drives it.
At the end of last week, RESULTS advocate Joanna in West Virginia wrote in her local paper about that need. As Joanna said, “when resources and political will align, we can accomplish extraordinary things” – which is exactly what we’re committed to do. Thank you for making it possible.
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash.