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Lehigh Valley Stands Up Protests Sen. Pat Toomey

Magdalena Ksepka
Lehigh Valley Stands Up organizer Ashleigh Strange speaking to WDIY in the summer of 2020.

Sen. Pat Toomey drew sharp critcism from some Lehigh Valley residents over the weekend for a proposed last-minute amendement to the long-awaited $900 billion COVID relief package from Congress. Ashleigh Strange, organizer for civil rights group Lehigh Valley Stands Up, spoke with WDIY's James Johnson on Sunday as the group staged a roadside demonstration in Whitehall, accusing  Sen. Toomey of delaying financial relief to the area's 28,000 unemployed.

Demonstrators from Lehigh Valley Stands Up held signs and hung a large banner on the Route 22 overpass on MacArthur Road. Whitehall police later ordered the group to take down the banner from the overpass.

Sen. Toomey's proposed amendment is designed to limit the lending programs for the Federal Reserve. The additional lending powers went into effect as a result of the CARES Act in March 2020. Democrats are objecting to the effort saying it will make it more difficult for the incoming Biden administration to access emergency powers for additional lending authority. Sen. Toomey has accused Democrats of mischaracterizing the issue, saying the new lending powers achieved their goals and now should be discontinued.

The relief package includes up to a $600 check for many Americans as well as other aid for small businesses and money to purchase and distribute vaccines.

Ashleigh Strange is also a member of the WDIY Board of Directors.

(Original air-date: 12/21/2020)

Update: Since this story aired, congress has passed the relief package. A compromise was reached on Sen. Toomey's amendment which narrowed the original language used.

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