Community reacts to Congress’ $900 billion relief stimulus deal


A $100 bill with the picture of Ben Franklin (Nexstar, file)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – A long-awaited $900 billion COVID-19 relief package is up in the air as Congress tries to make a decision to help millions of struggling Americans.

Many people across the mountain state are relying on the money in that proposed package to stay afloat. 

“What relief? Honestly, the $600 has been spent from the last $1200 because a lot of people don’t realize that in the working poor, we do not have a savings. There’s nothing we can save,” Maya Clark, Charleston Community Member said.   

“It’s almost to the point, how dare you? It’s a slap in the face. I’ve seen kids literally out here homeless. That’s not fair,” Martec Washington, Charleston Community Member said.

The $900 billion relief deal is expected to include $300 per week in jobless benefits, direct payments of $600 for individuals, $330 billion for small business loans, more than $80 billion for schools, and billions for vaccine distribution.

“Direct cash assistance is the most effective form of relief during an economic crisis. We know the original $1200 stimulus payments back in March were effective. We hope congress gets as close to that number as they can,” Seth DiStefano, Policy Outreach Director, West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy said.

Even with financial government assistance, many say $600 is not nearly enough.

“They see that millions of Americans are struggling. They see the longer lines are the food pantries. They see all of the stuff that’s going on in this pandemic and the numbers are rising and you come up with this joke of a number,” Washington said.

“At this point, we’ll take anything because our bills haven’t stopped, our rent hasn’t stopped, the moratorium for rent evictions is still going on,” Clark said.

Congress has until midnight to decide or face another shutdown.

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