Cash-strapped state governments will receive $150 billion in emergency aid as part of the massive $2 trillion economic rescue package that appears on its way to passage after Senate leaders and the White House reached an early-morning agreement. The New York Times’ Emily Cochrane and Nicholas Fandos report that the bill includes a significant expansion of unemployment benefits that will allow many workers laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain their full salaries.
It includes direct support for companies large and small that have lost all or most of their customers in recent weeks, and direct payments to low- and middle-income families. The package also includes measures meant to encourage companies to keep employees on their payrolls even if their businesses have shuttered temporarily — and it increases aid to workers who are laid off anyway or have had their hours and wages cut back.
The full text of the bill is still being written as of this morning, and still faces approval by the House and Senate, as well as President Trump’s signature, to become law.
Thankful for the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act turned 10 years old this week, and it’s clear that the popular health care law has mitigated the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. This is especially true in Louisiana, where Gov. John Bel Edwards made the wise decision to expand Medicaid. The Advocate’s Stephanie Grace outlines the benefits the health care law is providing during this unprecedented crisis and urges politicians, like Louiisana’s Jeff Landry, to stop efforts to abolish it.
With the coronavirus raging, it’s time for a full stop. That means that Trump should pull his support for the legal challenge. It means Landry, who has otherwise stepped up during the current crisis, should take Louisiana’s name off of the legal challenge and urge his allies around the country to do the same. It means that Congressional politicians such as Cassidy, a physician and a major player in the failed 2017 repeal attempt, should keep their focus on fixing the ACA’s shortcomings rather than revoking it. For many, the controversial law could be a lifeline during these difficult times. Even considering cutting it amounts to political malpractice.
Efforts to restart school meal service
State leaders are urging school districts to restart or outsource their Grab and Go student meal programs after many ended this vital service because of fear that school workers will be exposed to the coronavirus. The Department of Education said its working with the National Guard to provide protective equipment like masks, gloves and thermometers for food workers. The Advocate’s Charles Lussier reports:
“It is incredibly important that we continue to stand this up because this is the biggest feeding program in the state,” said Catherine Pozniak, assistant superintendent of fiscal operations and federal support. Lots of children in Louisiana schools receive free or reduced-price meals — about 630,000 during the 2018-19 schools.
America still has segregated neighborhoods
The 2020 Census will show that the United States is more racially diverse than it has ever been. However, white Americans still mostly live in white neighborhoods, while black and Latinx residents live in more diverse neighborhoods. Brookings’ William H. Frey takes a deep dive into America’s continued segregation in the early part of the 21st century.
As we await the 2020 census results, these recent American Community Survey data suggest that segregation is still quite prevalent in the United states. More than a half-century after the civil rights movement and fair housing legislation, whites continue to reside in mostly (and often largely) white neighborhoods, even as the nation’s overall population becomes much more racially and ethnically diverse. These patterns have changed only modestly since the 21st century began. While measurable progress in closing the nation’s racial divide has been made on many fronts – including in educational attainment, hiring, and the rise in multiracial marriages – race-ethnic segregation in American neighborhoods represent an area where historical patterns are slow to change.
Number of the Day
630,000 – Number of Louisiana children who received free or reduced-price meals during the 2018-2019 school year. Districts throughout the state have stopped providing this vital service because of fear that school workers will be exposed to the coronavirus. (Source: The Advocate)