Md. senators say COVID-19 relief bill isn’t a permanent fix
MARYLAND – With the second largest bill ever passed by Congress in United States history, Americans can expect more COVID-19 relief to hit their bank accounts in the coming weeks. But the question remains: Will it be enough to keep people going? “It will get us through these very tough winter months as we continue to fight the pandemic. We’ve got to make sure that our economy can first tread water, but then get up and running,” said Maryland U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen.
Sen. Van Hollen and Maryland U.S. Senator Ben Cardin say the $600 individual payments aren’t meant to be the final answer. “The $600 is not going to be enough for all the damage that’s been done under COVID-19. But it’s certainly, when you take a look at this package, it’ll be a bridge to get us into the Biden administration,” said Sen. Cardin.
Sen. Cardin says he hopes this package will bring relief as President-Elect Joe Biden makes his transition into the White House. “I think this bill gets us to that point, but we make no claims that this is the final answer to what American families need or how we’re going to control this pandemic or how our economy is going to rebound,” said Sen. Cardin.
When it comes to support for state and local government, Sen. Van Hollen says that while it may not be direct funding, the money that will support programming for things like education and transportation will help ease their financial burden. “Those are expenses that traditionally have to be borne primarily by state and local government. It’s not that they won’t have to continue to contribute, but this is on top of the funds,” said Sen. Van Hollen.
Now that the stimulus package is passed, the senators say that the focus should be on planning for the months ahead. “There are many needs that need to be met, some in terms of the amount of funds we provided, some in terms of the additional areas of funding,” said Sen. Van Hollen.
Sen. Cardin says that includes following President-Elect Biden’s plan to “build back better”. Sen. Cardin says it’s important to make investments that will set Marylanders up for a more promising financial future after the pandemic. “We’re already working on how the next chapter will look like. I think it’s unrealistic to expect in the next few months we’re still not going to have the lingering impact of this pandemic,” said Sen. Cardin.
Sen. Van Hollen says he hopes to see direct funding for state and local governments in future relief bills.