Senate Democrats on Thursday unveiled a proposal to infuse $350 billion in immediate and long-term investments into communities of color to help offset racial inequality.
Dubbed the Economic Justice Act, the legislation seeks to deliver 10 financial investments over a period of five years to communities of color to support various initiatives such as child care, mental health and job development, according to a press release announcing the proposal, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The $350 billion investment is broken up into two components, the first of which consists of a $135 billion investment in child care, mental health, primary care and jobs, with the goal of helping communities of color respond to the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.
The second component, a $215 billion investment, is intended to act "as a down payment for infrastructure, a homeowner down payment tax credit, Medicaid expansion, and more," the release said.
Here are some of the key points of the legislation:
A large chunk of the investment, $200 billion, is planned to come from unspent funds from the CARES Act, the $2 trillion federal stimulus package signed into law by President Donald Trump in March.
"Instead of allowing hundreds of billions of dollars in government assistance to sit idly at the Treasury, Senate Democrats would seek to re-program these dollars during negotiations for a fourth COVID-19 bill, in tandem with the robust provisions of the House's Heroes Act," the release said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has previously said that the Senate will consider another coronavirus aid package when it returns from its two-week Fourth of July recess.
McConnell on June 30 said, "To have the basic protections of unemployment insurance is extremely important and should be continued." Other Senate Republicans and White House officials have indicated support for a back-to-work bonus that could be paid out weekly in lieu of the extra $600 unemployment benefit that is about to expire.
"Long before the pandemic, long before this recession, long before this year's protests, structural inequalities have persisted in health care and housing, the economy and education," Schumer said in the release.
"Covid-19 has only magnified these injustices and we must confront them with lasting, meaningful solutions that tear down economic and social barriers, and reinvest in historically underserved communities. The Economic Justice Act is a needed step in a long journey to address systematic racism and historic underinvestment in communities of color."
The coronavirus outbreak has spread worldwide, with more than 13.5 million confirmed cases and over 584,700 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has had at least 3.4 million cases and 137,419 deaths, according to the latest tallies.