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Senate Republicans Let Emergency Unemployment Support Expire, Leaving More Than 30 Million Americans Without Relief

DSCC spokesperson Stewart Boss issued the following statement on the emergency unemployment relief expiring this weekend as Senate Republicans refuse to act:

“The emergency unemployment benefits that more than 30 million jobless Americans rely on to pay for food, housing and other essential bills will expire this weekend simply because Senate Republicans refused to extend it. After a two-week break and days of embarrassing infighting in Washington, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans took a long weekend off, ignoring the personal financial struggle families across this country face. It’s another stunning failure in a series of self-serving political maneuvers that have made this public health and economic crisis worse, and voters won’t forget it.”

BuzzFeed News: The $600 Unemployment Benefits Are Expiring This Weekend Because Senate Republicans Didn’t Do Anything
Eviction moratoriums are expiring across the country, and unemployment support is lapsing as Congress fails to act.

Paul McLeod
July 24, 2020

Key Points:

  • Morgan Childers applies for work every day in and around her hometown of Cullowhee, North Carolina, but the only jobs available have been ones that would put her in danger. Childers, 30, has chronic health conditions and is immunocompromised. For that reason, she’s desperate to find a job that doesn’t have her facing customers all day. She has an administrative background and is trying to find something in an office. But in her part of western North Carolina, those jobs are hard to come by right now.
  • One saving grace was that shortly after she lost her job at a local university, Congress passed the CARES Act, providing $600 per week in federal unemployment insurance aid on top of state benefits. With this support, Childers has been able to continue paying for essentials like rent and health insurance.
  • After this weekend, the unemployment subsidy expires. Congress plans to pass another coronavirus aid bill but is moving at a snail’s pace. Republicans spent the entire week debating among themselves on a proposal. Bipartisan talks have not yet even begun. The Senate left Washington on Thursday and won’t return until Monday, after the benefits expire. At the least, a temporary lapse in unemployment aid is all but certain.
  • This is happening right as millions of people are being exposed to the threat of eviction. When the coronavirus pandemic first caused a spike in unemployment, state and local governments enacted moratoriums on evictions and shutting off utilities. But now those have expired in about half the states in the country… A steady stream of moratoriums lapsing is scheduled to continue throughout the month of August.
  • Over 30 million people are drawing unemployment and will be left with state benefits only, which tend to be less than half of the federal amount.
  • [Jenny Schuetz, an urban economist and fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program] said that even a lapse in support will be difficult to bear for many people who are unable to find work.
  • “There are a lot of people who are just hanging on by their fingernails,” Schuetz said. “These are people who have essentially no financial cushion; they are struggling to pay rent at the best of times. For those households, any disruption is going to make it difficult for them to pay.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laughed and said “no” when asked if the bill could pass Congress by the end of next week. And there isn’t much time left to get a deal; Congress is planning to leave Washington, DC, for a monthlong break (its annual August recess) in the next two weeks.
  • “I think that’s basically what I’ll be forced into within the next three weeks,” [Childers] said. “I’ll be forced to get a job that puts my health at risk.”

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