By Nate Odenkirk and Nathan Mostow | Staff Writers
After months of back-and-forth negotiations, the Senate finally passed the Mainline Essential Health (MEH) Act, a sweeping COVID-19 relief bill that includes three minutes of clapping for essential workers throughout the United States.
“When I looked at the huge numbers of people dying and suffering, I thought, ‘Huh. We should get the gang together and do something,’” announced Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.
The MEH Act, Schumer explained, “builds on infrastructure we already have in place. Americans already have two hands. We’ve been using them to applaud soldiers in airport terminals for years. Now we’re extending our clapping to people in lab coats, scrubs, and postal worker uniforms, for three minutes.”
The MEH Act also includes measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Essential businesses are required to place a small hand sanitizer dispenser next to the cash register to be used up in a day and never refilled or replaced.
Other provisions in the bill include an official acknowledgement that we are in “challenging times” and sympathetic pats on the back for Americans in underserved communities, backdated to when they were evicted from their homes.
The relief bill comes on the heels of a massive national effort to shoulder the burden of COVID-19, spearheaded by leaders from both the public and private sectors. Earlier this year, Facebook added a “care” reaction emoji to its platform, while Amazon added the watermark, “#alonetogether” on its shipping packaging.
Facebook added a “care” reaction emoji to its platform, while Amazon added the watermark, “#alonetogether” to its shipping packaging.
At press time, President Trump had threatened to veto the bill unless it also included an hour-long applause carveout solely for himself, plus an additional fifteen minutes of applause for the negotiation skills he displayed in securing the first hour.♦