• Rich Klein

EDITORIAL: Trump Not Signing Covid Relief Bill Spells More Pain For Too Many In Sullivan & Beyond

As if Covid-19 hasn't done enough damage to personal and business lives since March, Sullivan County residents now have a potential bigger problem ahead since President Donald Trump surprised everyone by deciding not to sign a Covid-19 relief bill that both political parties had agreed to.

Perhaps the biggest crisis ahead, locally and beyond, is that the federal moratorium on evictions expires December 31. That will mean mean more homeless people during the coldest months if no emergency action is taken by Congress and Trump in the next few days. We are already seeing legal actions taken by some landlords in our courts as first strikes to collect back rents.

At the same time, pandemic unemployment benefits expired yesterday, which for so many has been a lifeline to pay for their rents/mortgages and basic necessities. Food shortages will increase.

The silver lining in all this is that Sullivan County residents and multiple charitable organizations and some businesses have stepped forward in recent months with food, supplies and more to help those most vulnerable. Sadly, that selfless beautiful work must continue in the near future unless Congress and Trump resolve this.

As for the moratorium on evictions ending, Congress and the President - and Governor Cuomo - need to find a long term solution that helps both landlords and tenants pay their bills.

Regarding unemployment, it's our opinion that Trump does not really care whether struggling Americans get $600 or $2,000. If he did care, he would have made that clear months or even weeks ago - not at the 11th hour. And he would have taken a personal role in the negotiations, as he always has in his business affairs.

With the Covid-19 vaccine arriving in Sullivan and beyond, 2021 should give us all hope for a more normal life by this summer. But until then, please extend your hearts and hands to those less fortunate. They may need it more than at anytime during this this pandemic.

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