$908 billion relief bill needed now

A second round of federal COVID-19 relief money, more than $900 billion, may be on its way to Americans soon.

Thank a group of U.S. senators and representatives who have grown sick of the partisan bickering that has delayed a new relief bill for months.

They are unlike many politicians, both Democrat and Republican, who seem to have forgotten that the people want results, not rhetoric. Fiery, emotional appeals to “the base” may work during election campaigns, but they divide rather than uniting.

For months, tens of millions of Americans have been engaged in a futile wait for Congress to approve a second round of assistance to those suffering from the COVID-19 epidemic. Leaders of the two parties have failed to agree on a formula.

Last week, a small group of U.S. senators and representatives — both Republicans and Democrats — revealed they had agreed on a framework to provide $908 billion in new relief funding. It will help businesses, the unemployed, schools, health care providers, and local and state governments struggling to cope with the epidemic.

How was it possible that the bipartisan group could break a deadlock so severe and long-lasting? As one of the coalition’s leaders, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., explained it, the new plan “proves that we can reach across the aisle and create meaningful compromise …”

There are indications the relief bill may be approved by Congress. It should be — soon. Too many Americans need help for left- and right-wing lawmakers to be allowed to block the plan.

What the hardliners seem to have missed is that most people are moderates or centrists, not extremists. They would rather not have to choose between hard-line liberals and hard-line conservatives.

There are indications leadership in both the House and Senate have chosen to back the moderates’ approach. Let us hope so. The $908 billion relief bill needs to be enacted immediately.

Let us hope the centrists’ coalition becomes a model. Clearly, their approach is important. It recognizes lawmakers should serve the people, not political parties, to get things done.


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