September 1, 2020/Media

“Shame on Him”: A Month In, North Carolinians Continue to Slam Tillis for Inaction on COVID Relief

Federal unemployment benefits expired a month ago, leaving North Carolinians with some of the stingiest benefits in the country. Local governments are facing drastic budget shortfalls that will hurt first responders and teachers. And a looming cliff threatens workers in vital industries like the airline industry. Senator Tillis has failed to pass desperately needed coronavirus aid — and North Carolinians aren’t letting him forget it.

Last week, workers rallied outside of Senator Tillis’ office and blasted him for his inaction on a COVID relief bill that would stave off mass layoffs, saying, “shame on him” and telling him, “Senator Tillis, save our jobs.” Earlier in the month, teachers and concerned parents rallied outside of his office to pressure him to pass additional relief for local governments. Tillis “came out against” that idea last week, leaving teachers and first responders out in the cold.

Meanwhile, outlets and opinion writers continue to criticize Tillis and the “the missing-in-action Senate” for not doing their jobs on unemployment benefits, slamming him for his “cruel disregard for the plight of unemployed workers.” Folks out of work, meanwhile, are directing their “anger… at Republicans, who control the White House and the Senate” for failing to renew the expired emergency unemployment relief.

“It’s been a month since critical benefits dried up, but Senator Tillis continues to fail North Carolina families,” NCDP spokesperson Robert Howard said. “Senator Tillis made a promise to North Carolina families to stay in Washington ‘as long as we have to to get it done.’ Instead, he went on summer vacation while families worried about their future. Senator Tillis continues to show he looks out for himself first and foremost, not North Carolina families.”

Here’s what North Carolinians are saying about Tillis’ inaction:

Local airline workers rallied to pressure Tillis to pass more relief, saying, “shame on him” and telling him to “save our jobs”:


Teachers rallied to call on him to pass funding for local governments to protect teachers — yet Tillis “came out against” that idea.

  • NCAE’s Tamika Walker Kelly: “It is past time for Senate action to address the reality of this crisis. Senator Tillis knows this yet he has remained silent. It is time for him to step up and fight for the children of North Carolina.”

  • NC parent: “Senator Tillis, today I ask you not to represent a party. Today, I ask you to represent the people of North Carolina. I ask you to take care of our communities, our families, our public schools. I ask you to uphold the duties of your office.

Editorial boards and opinion writers continue to slam him over unemployment benefits:

  • Op-ed in Daily Advance: “My home state’s abject failure to help its own citizens in their hour of greatest need, however, was not an inevitable outcome. It was by government design under the leadership of Sen. Thom Tillis, and it’s time to hold him accountable…

“Tillis’ cruel disregard for the plight of unemployed workers has harmed over a million of North Carolinians and now sets the state up for an unnecessarily long and difficult economic recovery. Now that the federal boost has ended, North Carolina will be left with over a million workers in desperate financial straits and no social safety net to help them, and our recovery will lag behind other states for years to come.”

  • CBC Editorial Board: “What really is needed is for Burr, Tillis and their fellow senators to pass a reasonable assistance program that would continue the $600-per-week additional emergency federal unemployment assistance. At a time when citizens need responsiveness, assurance and certainty from their leaders they are being ignored. Trump offers an inadequate stop-gap plan. North Carolinians and the country need the missing-in-action Senate to do the job and pass an additional CARES act.”