Groups push West Virginia needs with stimulus talks stalled on Capitol Hill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A plan that “meets the moment” was what advocates for all kinds of issues in West Virginia, the organizations that make up the Food For All Coalition, said was needed out of the next COVID-19 pandemic stimulus package.

As of Friday, national reports indicated negotiations were stalled on Capitol Hill and President Donald Trump was considering executive actions to address some of the pending matters.

“I think our U.S. Senators (U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)) are in a very key position to drive a package that sees to the needs of West Virginians,” said Seth DiStefano, policy outreach director for the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

Food insecurity was one of the biggest concerns.

In the Food For All Coalition with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy were the following organizations:

– Mountaineer Food Bank
– Facing Hunger Foodbank
– American Friends Service Committee
– WV Food and Farm Coalition
– WV Food ER
– Rabbi Victor Urecki on behalf of B’Nai Jacob Synagogue
– Families Leading Change
– WVU Extension Service

Seth DiStefano

All signed onto a letter that was sent to Sen. Manchin and Sen. Capito on Friday detailing four priorities for the new stimulus package.

They were a 15 percent increase for maximum SNAP benefits, an extension of the federal unemployment benefits that were originally part of the CARES Act and expired last week and an increase of the federal match for Medicaid to 12 percent.

The groups also requested additional direct aid for county and local governments.

READ: Food For All Letter

“We are going to be dealing with the economic aftermath of this pandemic for quite some time,” DiStefano said.

“We don’t need to be picking arbitrary stop dates for unemployment compensation or Medicaid coverage or an increase in SNAP benefits. We need to guarantee these family economic supports until the economy has recovered.”

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