by Mike Hyland, Venture President & CEO – The Covid-19 pandemic really has made 2020 a year unlike any other. At every turn, we can see how things have changed in our daily lives. We wear masks (well, most of us), we shop differently, our children go to school differently, and too many local businesses have had to close their doors for good. Human services agencies have not been immune to the financial strife caused by the pandemic and now, more than ever, we need the people tasked with leading this nation to do what it takes to support us. Sadly, they aren’t even trying to do that right now.
The people in the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the White House simply need to work harder. It seems they spend all day every day bickering and posturing rather than moving forward. Pandering has replaced leadership and complete abandonment of professionals who work with disabled people has replaced accountability. It is unfathomable that no one in our federal government has taken the time to publicly acknowledge the amazing work these professionals do to keep others safe and that the work is both vital and commendable. Instead, this work has been privately ignored while these elected officials spend their time sticking their tongues out at one another. Wow!
Massachusetts has always valued the work done by human services providers but the Commonwealth is now facing a significant fiscal crisis as the Baker administration tries to come up with a workable budget for this new fiscal year that began in July. In order to properly fund agencies that are still realizing extraordinary expenses due to the pandemic, Massachusetts needs the federal government to do its job and create a relief package that supports the work that Venture and others do every day. Instead, the Senate (with the approval of the White House) has passed a package that raises a collective middle finger to human services agencies by completely ignoring us and the House of Representatives has turned their attention to political posturing. Once again, WOW!
I know that the political climate in D.C. is both toxic and dysfunctional, probably more than at any other time. If there is one thing those elected officials should be able to agree upon, it is the work being done by millions of people to help others every day is important. This work also requires specific and immediate support, either directly or through money funded through the states, in order to continue at the high level people deserve. Waiting another however many months for elected officials to get to it is entirely unacceptable and even dangerous. These people know what they need to do and they need to work harder now to do it.