Amid an already devastating year, any semblance of normalcy and decency seemed to evaporate during the summer of 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to ravage the United States, which has now reached the grim milestone of more than 6 million cases and more than 186,000 deaths. Systemic racism and police violence in law enforcement have tragically claimed the lives and livelihood of too many Black people. And the U.S. Postal Service has been handicapped by Trump megadonor and USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in a corrupt ploy to tamper with mail-in ballots ahead of the November election.
Given these multiple crises, it’s an understatement to say that our country and our people are hurting. But Republicans in the Senate did not return from recess today to address any of those urgent needs. Instead, their first order of business upon their return is to process even more of Trump’s troubling judicial nominees.
Especially given the broken state of our democracy, it’s well past time for Republicans in the Senate to end their campaign to stack the courts with right-wing extremists. But even amid such devastation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to let the Senate vote on any legislation to mitigate these crises and has instead opted to push half-measures that will simply go nowhere.
It’s been more than three months since the House passed the HEROES Act, which provides critical funding to test and treat COVID-19, to strengthen and protect our elections, and to support the USPS. And in late June, the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which offers a long-overdue first step toward stopping police violence, which has continued to run rampant after the cruel and senseless 2020 killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others. The Delivering for America Act, passed by the House in late August, offers additional support for the USPS. Yet the Senate has not yet voted on any of these measures – and we are all paying the price for their inaction.
Between the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, we are sick and dying at a rate of more than one thousand people a day. The economic recession caused by the pandemic has left millions of people unemployed and increasingly unable to meet our basic needs. And on top of that, Trump is incessantly spreading misinformation about nonexistent fraud in absentee voting by mail, about “historic breakthrough” discoveries that promise to end the pandemic, and about the public and economic health of our country. Via USPS Postmaster General DeJoy, we are seeing the dismantling of a federal agency that millions of people rely on to pay their bills, to receive critical medications and mail from our loved ones – and to safely cast our ballots for the November elections.
These continued attacks on our democracy have created additional crises during a time when Americans are already suffering. But Senate Republicans have not returned from recess to propose solutions to any of this. What’s on their agenda today is processing even more of Trump’s judicial nominees.
Their continued inaction to address these emergencies is as indefensible as their insistence on “business as usual.” We must continue to remind them that we are watching, we are fighting – and we will hold them accountable by voting them out in November.