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Millions Face “Unavoidable” Fiscal Cliff Because McConnell and Senate Republicans Have Refused to Extend Emergency Unemployment Relief

DSCC spokesperson Stewart Boss issued the following statement on the ongoing unemployment crisis and impending fiscal cliff that millions of Americans face as Senate Republicans refuse to act in time to extend expanded emergency unemployment relief:

“By dragging their feet and refusing to extend bipartisan coronavirus relief policies, Mitch McConnell’s Senate is making this crisis even worse for workers across the country who’ve lost their jobs and are in economic turmoil. Now, thanks to the obstruction of Senate Republicans, millions of Americans are facing a catastrophic fiscal cliff as the expanded emergency unemployment benefits that have kept so many hardworking families afloat are set to run out at the end of the month. This did not have to be yet another manufactured Washington trainwreck, and GOP senators will have to answer to voters for their harmful and out of touch response to this devastating pandemic.”

For weeks now, reports have spotlighted how “millions of American workers are suffering from economic whiplash” as they are laid off for the second time, that “the already struggling U.S. economy has begun to show signs of another shock,” and how allowing the additional emergency unemployment relief to expire will put a further “financial squeeze” on communities. And despite an overwhelming majority of voters supporting an extension of the expanded emergency unemployment relief, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans chose to take a two-week summer break instead of working on solutions in Washington. 

Now, because of Senate Republicans’ inaction, the $600 per week emergency unemployment relief “will likely lapse before more aid is passed.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

POLITICO: $600 weekly jobless benefit will likely lapse before more aid is passed
By Rebecca Rainey
July 14, 2020

Key Points:

  • Congress will likely allow the $600-a-week boost in unemployment benefits to expire at the end of this month if lawmakers follow Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposed timeline for the next round of pandemic aid.
  • The $600 additional weekly unemployment benefit created under the March CARES Act is set to expire in the weeks “ending on or before July 31.” But because most jobless benefit payments end on Saturdays, economists say the last payment will actually land on the week ending July 25.
  • Unless another bill is signed by the president before the aid expires, laid off workers will see a lapse in the additional benefits — reducing their weekly income by more than two-thirds in many states.
  • “Because state unemployment benefits need to be extended by July 25 in order to be processed by states administering their programs, McConnell’s announcement that the Senate will not even begin drafting or negotiating legislation until next week effectively makes a lapse in those expanded payments unavoidable,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), vice chair of Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, told POLITICO in a statement.
  • “Now we are out of time,” Beyer said. “All of this could have been avoided if McConnell had acknowledged the economic emergency facing our country and acted on it sooner.”
  • Once the additional unemployment payment ends, out-of-work Americans could see their benefits drop by anywhere from 50 to 85 percent according to Century Foundation fellow Andrew Stettner.

Read the full story here.

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