The Washington Post revealed Thursday that their newspaper offices have been inundated with phone calls from Americans desperate for help amid the economic crisis and the global pandemic.
President Donald Trump announced that he would send the COVID-19 stimulus bill back to Congress if they didn't raise the $600 to $2,000. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has fought any stimulus checks being sent to Americans for the past nine months. While it was something that Trump said he wanted, Republicans in the House blocked the vote on the bill Thursday when Democrats brought it for a vote.
"The Washington Post has been inundated with messages and phone calls from people on the verge of losing their homes and cars and going hungry this holiday who are stunned that President Trump and Congress cannot agree on another emergency aid package. Several broke down crying in phone interviews," said the Post report.
Things were already bad for Americans. In June, the National Bureau of Economic Research reported that calculations show a U.S. recession officially began in February. Things got worse as the president continued to ignore the COVID-19 pandemic and lie to Americans that it was nothing more than "the flu."
As Americans began staying home, more jobs were lost along with the lives of many Americans. With lost jobs came bills that couldn't be paid. Congress stepped in to stop evictions for those unable to pay mortgages and rent. Banks began programs to help those unemployed in the crisis. But it hasn't been enough.
"Some blamed Trump for torpedoing a $900 billion relief package at the last minute," the Post said. "Others agreed with Trump that the proposed $600 checks for over 150 million American households was too little, too late and should be raised to at least $2,000. Others blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for not taking a deal in August."
The House was set to vote on the $2,000 by lunch on Christmas Eve, but Republicans blocked the vote. Senate Republicans have refused to hold a vote on the House bill for seven months and refused to participate in negotiations for the past nine months, until very recently.
Most people calling the Post said that they are "not political," and they can't understand how elected officials could celebrate the holidays while 14 million Americans are about to lose unemployment and millions more will lose their homes after the first of the year.
"It feels like everybody is playing politics with people's lives," said Tony Bowens, who barely survived COVID-19 earlier this year. "That $600 check wasn't much, but at least it would have been dispersed just in time."
The post introduced the world to 30-year-old Stephanie Lott, who "has had her rent covered by a friend for the past two months. Lott lives off $100 a week provided through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance." She said that the only way she's getting by is through "the good graces of friends at this point."
Moody's Analytics reported this month that a whopping 12 million renters will owe an average of $5,850 in unpaid rent and utilities as 2021 begins.
Orlando, Florida's Samara Crockett, "is supposed to get her last unemployment payment on Christmas Eve," the Post said. "She was laid off from her medical assistant job in Orlando in September. A single mom of teenagers, she receives $275 a week from unemployment. She's behind on the electric bill and had to beg the light company to keep her electricity on for Christmas."
These are just a few of the many Americans in dire straights as Republicans continue to block a vote on the COVID-19 stimulus with a $2,000 check and Trump blocks a $600 payment.
Meanwhile, many billionaires are making a fortune during the pandemic. Chuck Collins, with the Institute for Policy Studies, told NPR, "some of those are seeing their wealth go up double or 40, 50% increases in less than a year."