WASHINGTON, D.C. – Another 787,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing the number of workers drawing unemployment benefits to 8.3 million. The report comes as the U.S. endures a third coronavirus surge in a health crisis that has already cost the lives of over 219,000 Americans.
Yet as Americans brace themselves for another spike in layoffs, with Black and Latino communities facing some of the worst consequences of the Trump recession, the Washington Post revealed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has waved off the White House from securing a new relief package until after Election Day — after another month of rent comes due. McConnell is worried that considering a serious aid package for recession-battered communities would delay his power-hungry scheme to rapidly confirm the President’s extreme, corporation-friendly Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett.
“The Trump recession continues to spread incredible pain and uncertainty for more small business owners, workers, and their families every week — but the only thing that matters right now to Trump’s Senate allies is pushing the Supreme Court further right to the side of corporations and against everyday Americans,” said Kyle Herrig, president of government watchdog Accountable.US.
“The McConnell Senate acts like the House didn’t pass a robust recovery bill months ago — and they still can’t even muster the votes for an inadequate band-aid bill of their own to pretend like they’ve done something constructive.”
The most constructive thing the president and his friends in the Senate can do right now is help the struggling workers, small businesses, and communities that have sacrificed the most as a result of the administration’s mismanagement and misinformation throughout the health crisis. The least constructive use of time is making big corporations happy with yet another with another extreme-right Supreme Court nominee. The McConnell Senate is rushing the nomination process despite a mountain of unanswered questions about Barrett’s record which is still being obscured from the public — including records from her fifteen years working at Notre Dame College. They are making every excuse not to act on the updated HEROES Act the House passed this month that includes a full extension of the CARES Act’s $600 enhanced unemployment benefit provision and improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), after previously passing a serious aid bill in May.
The Senate is expected to vote as soon as Monday on Barrett’s nomination following an onslaught of reports in recent days showing she ruled:
- Against providing damages to a woman who was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a correctional officer while she was incarcerated.
- To protect police in whose custody an 18-year-old Black teenager died after showing repeated signs of distress and difficulty breathing.
- In favor of corporations and law enforcement and against workers, consumers, immigrants, and those alleging harm in relevant cases.
As Trump and the Senate put all their energy into jamming through Trump’s extremist Supreme Court nominee, it has been:
- 208 days since the CARES Act was passed — the last significant comprehensive aid package Congress secured to help the American people through a crisis that is now well past its 6th month of raging through the U.S.
- 82 days since the CARES Act’s weekly $600 enhanced federal unemployment benefits ran out, leaving many families struggling to make ends meet.
- 74 days since applications for the Paycheck Protection Program closed, leaving small businesses that were denied from the program to fend for themselves.
- 113 days until Trump’s eviction moratorium runs out, potentially resulting in thousands of families losing access to stable housing.
It’s clear more — not less — needs to be done as the Trump Recession continues for millions of Americans:
- CBS News, 10/20: Workers are being laid off twice as COVID ripples through the economy. A high number of these are repeat layoffs, Goldfarb said. A survey from RIWI and Cornell University released last month found that, among an estimated 36 million workers called back to their jobs after a layoff this year, 27% have been laid off again, while another 36% were told they could still be laid off again.
- Reuters, 10/19: Time’s up: After a reprieve, a wave of evictions expected across U.S. More than 60,000 evictions have been filed since the pandemic started in the 17 cities tracked by the Princeton Lab. Health experts say evictions may contribute to a second-wave COVID-19 crisis, as the newly homeless are forced into shelters or tight quarters with friends and relatives, potentially exposing them to infection. The danger is particularly acute in the winter, when colder weather pushes people indoors.
- CBS News, 10/19: Black-owned businesses headed for disaster without federal aid, poll finds. The poll asked 600 entrepreneurs from all backgrounds how long they believed they could remain open in the current coronavirus-slammed economy without government aid. Only 40% of Black respondents said they could last more than six months, compared with 46% of Asian respondents, 48% of Latinx and 55% of white respondents.
- Business Insider, 10/19: 5 charts show just how badly Latino and Black communities have been impacted by the economic fallout from the coronavirus. For example, 65% of Hispanic/Latino respondents are worried about making their mortgage/rent payments and 58% of Black people feel the same, compared to 44% of white Americans.
- Washington Post, 10/19: As Washington scrambles for more bailout money, the Fed sits on mountain of untapped funds. The White House and Congress are fighting over an economic relief bill, and odds appear low they will reach a deal before the November election. Yet hundreds of billions of dollars already set aside by lawmakers to support the Federal Reserve’s emergency aid programs may never be touched, illustrating the unevenness of Congress’s bailout decisions from earlier this year.