WASHINGTON, D.C. – The mess Donald Trump and his Senate allies are leaving behind for President-elect Joe Biden grew worse as another 853,000 workers filed for unemployment last week — a troubling increase of 137,000 from the previous week. More than 19 million Americans remain without work as outgoing President Trump has effectively given up on containing the pandemic which has now claimed the lives of over 285,000 Americans. As workers across the country struggle to make ends meet, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin reportedly made an offer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a $916 billion coronavirus relief package that doesn’t contain nearly enough support for small businesses and jobless Americans to withstand this economic crisis.
The White House’s latest proposal offers far too little, too late for those most in need with not a penny for extra unemployment benefits and only one $600 stimulus check — slashing the value of the direct checks distributed through March’s CARES Act in half. The bill would also extend Trump’s poorly designed and badly implemented Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) while doing nothing to fix the program’s major flaws that left most Black-owned small businesses in the cold.
“With rising levels of food insecurity and a new wave of evictions in less than one month, the Trump administration should be working around the clock to get relief into Americans’ pockets. Instead, Mnuchin and the White House think now is a good time to propose gutting jobless benefits and cutting stimulus checks in half — the last thing vulnerable Americans need in this recession,” said Jeremy Funk, spokesperson for Accountable.US. “Congress and the Trump administration’s priorities must be on containing the virus and getting relief into the hands of the millions of workers and thousands of small businesses that desperately need help.”
Millions of families can’t afford to wait any longer for help: As Americans have waited for crucial unemployment assistance and small business owners have hoped for new relief funds, the end of 2020 will bring a halt to many programs that have been lifelines for mom-and-pop shops, their workers, and their families throughout the COVID-19 crisis, including last-ditch unemployment insurance funds, the CDC’s eviction moratorium, student loan forbearance, and more. Without a new relief deal, approximately 12 million Americans will lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas.
Over 400,000 small businesses have closed permanently, and thousands more are barely hanging on. Nearly half of Black-owned small businesses have shuttered for good or are on the brink — and the unemployment rate in the Black community stands at 10.3 percent. As many as 54 million people in the U.S. face food insecurity. When the federal eviction moratorium expires on Jan 1st, an estimated $32 billion in back rent will come due and up to 8 million tenants will be at risk of eviction. And nearly 2.2 million women have left the workforce since February.
While Trump’s Senate allies play politics, it has been…
- 258 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 7th month of raging through the U.S.
- 132 days since the CARES Act’s weekly $600 enhanced federal unemployment benefits ran out, leaving many families struggling to make ends meet.
- 124 days since applications for the Paycheck Protection Program closed, leaving small businesses that were denied from the program to fend for themselves.
- 22 days until Trump’s eviction moratorium runs out, potentially resulting in thousands of families losing access to stable housing.