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Allison Perkins of Cornville is vice president of the Maine Service Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union. She works as an overpayment specialist for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. She is writing as an MSEA-SEIU member.

Scores of Maine families struggling in the coronavirus pandemic have turned to unemployment and rental assistance, SNAP, food banks, Medicaid expansion and other help to get by. With state resources strained, you’d think the White House and U.S. Senate would help fund essential state services, but you’d be wrong.

Maine people were counting on President Donald Trump and Sens. Susan Collins and Mitch McConnell to enact a COVID-relief package for workers and essential services. The U.S. House of Representatives passed its latest compromise COVID-relief legislation on Oct. 1. On Tuesday, Trump called on lawmakers to stop their negotiations. He partially reversed course later in the day. The Senate has so far failed to pass more COVID relief before the election. This is the second House relief package the Senate has refused to vote on since May.

Then on Wednesday, Collins told the Portland Press Herald she wants to give less money to state governments and more to municipalities in a COVID-relief package. This is a stunning statement by Collins. The State of Maine is projecting a $1.4 billion revenue shortfall over the next three years due the pandemic. Collins, Trump and McConnell worked to pass $1.9 trillion in tax breaks mostly benefiting corporations and the wealthy, yet they are failing to fund essential services.

The same day Collins called for limiting aid to states in further COVID relief, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported another 49 positive cases of coronavirus in Maine and schools in my town and the neighboring town of Skowhegan closed for the rest of the week as a precaution.

This virus remains a serious threat to Maine workers and families. The critical needs of Maine people aren’t going away, yet the services they’re counting on could be threatened without federal action.

Multiple economists nationwide are warning of further harm to the economy without another federal relief package. In the meantime, colleagues at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services are doing everything within their power to keep people safe and meet the demand for services. Here’s a snapshot of key DHHS programs and the Mainers served during this pandemic:

Nearly 63,000 Mainers enrolled in MaineCare expansion as of Oct. 2. Over 355,000 Mainers are now receiving MaineCare.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is serving 10,912 Mainers. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is serving 178,962 Mainers.

There were more than 2,000 children in the custody of the Maine Office of Child and Family Services and 18,931 children accessed behavioral health services.

In addition to leading Maine’s COVID response, Maine CDC workers screened 98 individuals for HIV and completed 198 business health inspections from April 1 through June 30. As of June, the Maine CDC also served 16,575 individuals in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program.

Through the Maine DHHS Office of Behavioral Health, 3,619 uninsured individuals are receiving substance abuse disorder services and 2,318 uninsured individuals are receiving mental health services.

Maine DHHS Office of Aging and Disability Services, as of June 30, has 1,239 adults in guardianship, 6,643 MaineCare enrollees in a nursing or residential facilities, 1,919 individuals on Section 19 community-based waivers, 3,226 individuals with autism waivers, and 2,224 individuals with intellectual disabilities or autistic disorder waivers.

Maine also had 56 patients being treated at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta and 26 at Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor.

Those are services provided to Maine people by just one state department. Throughout state government, workers are on the frontlines keeping services going, from fighting forest fires to protecting our drinking water to maintaining our highways and bridges. It’s unconscionable that Trump, Collins and McConnell haven’t passed COVID relief for essential state services.

Fortunately there is a path forward. Sara Gideon, if elected to the U.S. Senate, will fight to provide COVID relief for services working families are counting on. It’s up to all of us to vote on Nov. 3 for candidates who understand the U.S. Senate needs to step up, do its job and provide relief to states and their citizens.