The U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights has warned significant portions of America face destitution unless Congress takes “far-reaching” actions to stem the financial damage driven by the Chinese coronavirus epidemic.
“Low-income and poor people face far higher risks from the coronavirus due to chronic neglect and discrimination, and a muddled, corporate-driven, federal response [that] has failed them”, said Philip Alston, who made a fact-finding visit to the U.S. in 2017 and in 2018 delivered a scathing report into income inequality in America, as Breitbart News reported.
This time he painted a picture of record layoffs, a weak safety net, and a Trump administration “focusing primarily on businesses and the well-off” in a critical report delivered to the globalist organization.
The US #COVID19 strategy is failing the poor – @Alston_UNSR: "They are being hit hardest by the pandemic and the Government must urgently take additional steps to prevent tens of millions of middle-class Americans from being plunged into poverty" 👉 https://t.co/35uoVmE8KW pic.twitter.com/OVKJ2uRY9A
— UN Special Procedures (@UN_SPExperts) April 16, 2020
On March 27, President Donald Trump signed into law a historic $2 trillion emergency relief package to provide stopgap funding for workers, small businesses and industry, impacted by the need to lockdown much of the country to halt the transmission of the Chinese coronavirus.
The terms of the new deal were described as including “unemployment compensation on steroids” that would reimburse laid-off workers for their lost salaries, and guarantee furloughed workers their full benefits so that businesses could re-open when the coronavirus crisis was over.
There were also provisions for supporting small business, and for a special inspector general to oversee the administration of funds.
Despite that bipartisan effort, Alston remains unconvinced of the Trump administration’s approach and the promise of more to come from Washington.
Instead, the special rapporteur called for “accessible, affordable treatment” to ensure that when a coronavirus vaccine does become available, it is not rolled out “first to the wealthy” and “only eventually” to those most at risk.
“Poor people will be harmed if Congress continues to deny meaningful assistance to state and local governments, which are considering cuts to services like public transportation, education, legal aid and healthcare”, he said.
The Australian urged the U.S. to provide immediate further relief, such as rental assistance and debt suspension, as well as a green stimulus package and student debt cancellation.
“This is a moment to re-evaluate failing health, housing and social support systems that have made this crisis especially painful for the less well-off”, he concluded.
Despite the criticism, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) told Breitbart News that Congress had reached a $470 billion deal to fund the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in another example of how the Trump administration is working to do all it can to ease the country’s fiscal and social pain.
The president has also flagged structural changes to the economy that will begin once the epidemic is over:White House
The funding bill includes $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program — $60 million of which will go to community banks — $65 billion for disaster loans, $75 billion for hospitals, and another $25 billion for testing.
Johnson said the House will vote on the legislation on Wednesday.