Legislation to Recover from COVID-19 Pandemic

by | Apr 1, 2020 | Billie's Blog, Conference Newsletter

Bud Clark & Chris Samelson, Economic Inequality Task Force
Congress has passed legislation to help fund the battle against the COVID 19 virus.  It includes information on the financial needs of individuals and businesses and other aspects of the recovery process.
The pieces of the act include:
  1. Direct payments to individuals.
  2. Boost unemployment weekly pay by $600.00 and extend time to receive the benefits
  3. Suspend payments and interest accrual on student loans until September 30th.
  4. Funds for hospitals to help with treating patients with the virus.
  5. Funds through the Treasury Department for loans, loan guarantees, and investment to businesses, states and municipalities. There are many Restrictions tied to how these funds can be used.
  6. There are funds for food assistance, evacuations of Americans needing to get back home, the Peace Corps, diplomatic programs and refugees.
  7. Funds for the arts.
  8. Protections are written into law against foreclosure and eviction where federally backed mortgages are involved.
    Here are some websites that you can go to for more detail, as well as your questions and concerns.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/03/27/ coronavirus-stimulus-package-questions-answers/2930656001/
    Know that the above websites may go away in time. So, it is important to know how to find web sites like these. Simply go to google.com and search on, for example, “how to access benefits of stimulus package” or “FAQ on stimulus checks unemployment and the coronavirus plan”, or other key words of your choosing. You have it within your power to become an expert on how to use this package.

This huge bill is an example that our elected leadership can attempt to create compassionate law when it must. They should be commended for their work. At the same time, we must monitor closely how funds are actually managed and utilized.

We have a long way to go before we develop a vaccine so that we can get back to some sort of normalcy. Right now we need to concentrate on taking care of those getting the virus. We need medicine, equipment, and testing capability that gets us back to work and a life with our loved ones.
Normalcy should not mean business as usual. Rapid growth of the economy and a renewal of the trickle-down theory is not the answer to our prayers for a healthy, peaceful, compassionate and just nation. Equality  will only get better through funding of social programs. Social programs require tax dollars by increasing taxes on corporate profits as well as on substantial income earning individuals. Yes, that may slow down rapid growth, but we have seen what putting rapid growth before the social requirements for the nation, (not putting God first) will do to income inequality as well as education, healthcare and justice for all.
Love God with all your might, love and respect, and have compassion for all humanity and creation. If we follow that and really believe that we are loved by God, we can, and will, be compelled to share that love with our neighbor.

Know that loving God and neighbor can be done by not being complicit in creating, supporting, and executing policies that cause the social  injustices that we are currently experiencing. This means that we should not give our vote to any politician that creates and supports such policies at the federal and state levels. With the right mindset, any effort you make to educate yourselves on political issues at hand, can also be acts of love toward God and neighbor – think about it!

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Author: Billie K. Fidlin

Billie K. Fidlin is the Director of Outreach & Justice for the Desert Southwest Conference. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University and attended Claremont School of Theology for religious studies. Ms. Fidlin currently serves as the President of the Arizona Faith Network in her second term. She is President & Founder of Whisper n Thunder Inc., and sits on various boards including the Justa Center and the Phoenix Police Department's Faith Advisory Council. Her awards include the UM Foundation for Evangelism 2004 Distinguished Evangelist; 2016 Church Women United / United Nations Human Rights Award; 2018 Servant Leader Award AZ Faith Network; 2022 Southern Poverty Law Center Certificate of Recognition; and 2022-23 Class of Who's Who in America.
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