Washington, D.C. (March 27, 2020) – Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, made the following statement about Congressional passage of the $2 trillion stimulus package in response to the coronavirus.
“This legislation is a critical step toward addressing the needs of the American people who are most at risk. After much negotiation, the final version resulted in an improved, if incomplete, response to the litany of harms caused by this crisis.
But Congress has much more work to do. The NAACP will continue to advocate for a fair and equitable recovery plan for marginalized and under-resourced communities. In providing future relief, Congress must prioritize people first, not corporations.
Impacted communities will undoubtedly need to receive repeat direct cash payments to help them weather this crisis. From workers who have lost their jobs to small businesses that will be forced to close to students drowning in student loan debt, we must ensure the safety of our communities and economy through cash injections and other forms of support, without stipulation, for those that are suffering. Additionally, our hospitals and health providers throughout this crisis need continued support to ensure all communities receive testing and treatment. We must expand paid family and medical leave for more workers. We must meet the food and nutrition needs of our most vulnerable families through this treacherous time.
Above all, while this bill provides a downpayment to securing our democracy in this time of crisis, we recognize more robust action is required and quickly. The proposal allocates $400 million to protect elections when in reality states need $4 billion — ten times that amount — to ensure secure voting. We should not be forced to choose between our health and our vote. Congress must significantly increase funding to states so they may adopt a variety of measures to administer elections in a safe and accessible manner. Failing to protect our democracy is not an option in this critical election year.
The NAACP urges Congress to begin work on another COVID-19 response package quickly. For the duration of this crisis, we will continue to fight for measures to protect the health, safety and well-being of underserved and overlooked communities.”
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.