Kentuckians are hurting, but Sen. McConnell does nothing | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Kentuckians are hurting, but Sen. McConnell does nothing

Kentuckians are hurting from the triple whammy of long-term economic distress, the COVID-19 health crisis, and collapse of jobs and income due to the pandemic. According to a recent story in the Washington Post, 1/2 of all adults in Kentucky have lost some employment income since March, 1/4 of all Kentuckians say they do not get enough food to eat, and 1/3 of all Kentucky households struggle to pay the rent or mortgage. 

Yet Sen. Mitch McConnell, arguably the most powerful member of Congress, seems to have turned his back on the people he represents, and millions of people in the United States.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

This summer, McConnell failed to even introduce a COVID relief bill in the Senate until the very last moment. Then, when he failed to reach agreement on a plan within his own party, he sent Senators home for summer vacation without taking a vote on any package of federal aid needed by workers, households, states and local governments. When the Senate failed to act, it left millions of Americans at risk of eviction, homelessness, increasing food insecurity – and essential services like the US Postal Service without the funding it needs to maintain services.

This story in the Washington Post from August 11 features statements from many Kentuckians expressing grave concern, including Jason Bailey of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, Wes Addington of the Appalachian Citizens Law Center, Adrienne Bush of the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky, and many individual workers and small business owners. 

"We're seeing huge numbers of people needing help," said Jason Bailey, the executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. He added, "I can't imagine a state that needs additional relief more than Kentucky does."

"If we don't get the kind of help we need ... a town that had 100 restaurants now has 20, which means 80 percent of the hospitality jobs are gone," agreed Dan Wu, the owner of Atomic Ramen in Lexigton. "The tax revenue is down, and the whole city and state's economy is going to be down."

Along with many allies in Kentucky, members of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth have stepped up pressure on Sen. McConnell over the summer to provide urgently needed federal aid to people and communities. On August 12, KFTC ran a full page ad in 11 eastern Kentucky counties featuring an open letter urging McConnell to pass the RECLAIM Act and shore up funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, as part of any COVID-19 relief package. The letter has been signed by hundreds of Kentuckians, including many former miners with Black Lung disease and others concerned about the health and well-being of our communities. 

While the Senate is out for the next two weeks, pressure is building for McConnell to pass a relief package when they return in September. Here are three ways to take action:

1) Sign your name to this open letter to Sen. McConnell.

2) Call Sen. McConnell today. His Louisville office number is 502-582-6304.

Tell him to: “Deliver the federal aid Kentuckians urgently need by passing the RECLAIM Act to clean up old mines, securing funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, keeping expanded unemployment benefits, doing more to help schools and hospitals, and funding safe elections, our postal service, and state and local governments.” 

3) Join Kentuckians For The Commonwealth today. We welcome your voice as we keep choosing each other and holding powerful politicians accountable.


Issue Area(s):