Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Robert C. Turner


This paper assesses the COVID-19 relief response of the federal government. How well was the response created and implemented to satisfy the demonstrated needs of the majority of the people? If the relief response of the federal government did not address the needs of the majority of the people, why did that happen? Who benefited instead? To answer these questions we will examine and analyze a case study of the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program, which was created under the S.3548 - CARES Act passed by the Senate to provide relief to small businesses across the United States.

Research, examination, and analysis of the creation and implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program find that the federal COVID-19 relief response of the federal government did not satisfy the needs of the American people and was the result of off-center policymaking. Despite clearly demonstrated preferences of a bipartisan majority of Americans for how, when, and to whom relief should be distributed, the federal government’s COVID relief plans and policies were skewed to benefit the interests of wealthy corporations and America’s wealthiest citizens. Until the 2020 election, which gave Democrats control of all three branches of government, Republicans - specifically President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin- were largely in control of the federal government’s COVID-19 relief response. Republican control of the Senate, the Presidency, and consequently key offices in the executive branch gave the political upper hand to the GOP in agenda setting, policy negotiations, and implementation of economic relief policy. Although the Democratic party has not always best represented the will of the people, the Republican party has a long history of implementing unpopular policies that work to benefit large corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans at the expense of the interests of the majority of Americans, including their own constituents. The research and analysis in this paper find that members of the Republican party implemented unpopular policies under the guise of relief packages that they asserted would help the majority of people and were created in direct response to the demonstrated needs of the people. However, when these policies were implemented, the actual intentions of our Republican-led federal government to benefit large corporations, already wealthy industries, and the 1 percent were revealed.