Nearly Two Months After Senate Republicans Let Unemployment Relief Expire, Jobless Claims Continue to Climb

DSCC spokesperson Stewart Boss issued the following statement on reports that another 1.4 million Americans filed new jobless claims this past week while Senate Republicans continued to block a full extension of emergency unemployment relief:

“Republicans made clear again this week that they will only act with urgency when it suits their political interests, like moving with unprecedented speed to try to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court before the election even while refusing for months to extend emergency unemployment relief in the middle of a pandemic and economic crisis. It’s wrong and the ‘anger’ directed at Senate Republicans for failing Americans in this crisis is well-deserved.”

Senate Republicans let emergency unemployment relief expire on July 31 and then went on a month-long recess — only to return and continue to block a full extension. Despite the alarming reports and grim warnings that the U.S. economy remains at risk, Mitch McConnell and his caucus are ignoring the urgent needs of millions of hardworking families and have instead decided to focus on rushing to fill a lifetime appointment before Americans have a chance to make their voices heard.  


NBC News: Jobless benefits for millions are expiring as Washington moves on

By Benjy Sarlin and Stephanie Ruhle

September 24, 2020

Key Points:

  • For months, it was a lifeline: a check for $600 a week, allowing people put out of work by the coronavirus pandemic to pay rent, buy food and build some savings to ride out the storm.
  • But with that benefit now gone and a patchwork of replacement aid nearing its end, tens of millions of Americans are dealing with uncertain futures, unsure of their income beyond even the next month or whether they can find jobs to replace it. Nor can they take the roofs over their head for granted: While emergency measures protect them from eviction for now, without additional aid they could lose their housing as soon as the order expires at the end of the year.
  • The $600 benefit, a provision of the CARES Act, which passed in March with near unanimous support in Congress and was signed into law by President Donald Trump, expired at the end of July.
  • The House passed a bill in May, the HEROES Act, that would extend the weekly benefits through January. The White House and Senate Republicans have called for a lower benefit, arguing that $600 was too high — for most recipients, it’s more than their pre-pandemic income — and would discourage work.
  • Close to two months later, talks over further assistance have collapsed. Trump took executive action to provide some temporary relief, offering states $44 billion through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to finance a temporary $300 weekly benefit on top of their unemployment insurance.
  • But the benefit lasts only up to six weeks before the money runs out. Because states applied the benefits retroactively to the end of July, some recipients have already gotten their final payments. That leaves them with only state unemployment, which varies widely and averaged just over $300 per week in July, according to federal data.
  • While some of the worst effects of the sudden loss of aid may be delayed, many unemployed and struggling Americans are trapped in a kind of limbo period, with benefits that could run out as soon as this month and protections that could keep them in their homes for now but leave them with rising debt that would only force them out later.


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