WASHINGTON, D.C. – Another 898,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week, an increase of 53,000 from the previous week’s total, bringing the number of workers drawing unemployment benefits to nearly 10 million amid a health crisis that has now claimed the lives of over 215,000 in the U.S. As the deadly repercussions of the pandemic and recession grow worse by the day, all eyes are on President Trump’s Senate allies to finally stop holding up critically needed relief for struggling workers, states, schools, and small businesses.
Despite recent polling showing that nearly three in four Americans would prefer that Congress prioritize passing a new relief bill, Trump and his allies’ top priority is replacing Justice Ginsburg on the high court as soon as possible with Trump’s far-right nominee and friend of corporations, Amy Coney Barrett.
This month, the House passed an updated HEROES Act 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 an aid bill in May.
Meanwhile, Trump’s Senate allies are preparing to vote next week on a COVID-19 recovery bill that offers far too little, too late and insists on on blanket immunity for corporations against claims from workers mistreated during the pandemic and no efforts to fix the PPP’s fundamental flaws that allowed tens of thousands of small businesses to shutter, especially in communities of color.
“With rising levels of food insecurity and a new wave of evictions right around the corner, Trump’s Senate allies should be working around the clock to get relief into Americans’ pockets. Instead, they’re pouring all their energy into forcing through a judge who sides with corporations at the expense of consumers, workers, and immigrants,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US.
“Rather than rush their radical Supreme Court pick through the approvals process before her full record is known to the public, the Senate needs to pass the Heroes Act — a bill that meets the magnitude of the crises we are in and prioritizes vulnerable communities over the wealthy and well-connected.”
As Trump and the Senate put all their energy into jamming through Trump’s extremist Supreme Court nominee, it has been…
- 201 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.
- 75 days since the CARES Act’s weekly $600 enhanced federal unemployment benefits ran out, leaving many families struggling to make ends meet.
- 67 days since applications for the Paycheck Protection Program closed, leaving small businesses that were denied from the program to fend for themselves.
- 106 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, 10/14: “Staggering” need: COVID-19 has led to rising levels in food insecurity across the U.S. In 2018, food insecurity among Black adults was more than three times that among White adults. That pattern has largely held in the era of COVID-19, with food insecurity at 7% among White respondents and 20% among Black respondents.
- CNBC, 10/13: Unemployment was supposed to be temporary. Now, it’s permanent for almost 4 million. Millions of Americans have headed back to work since the depths of the coronavirus-induced recession in the spring. But nearly 13 million remain unemployed — about 7 million more workers than pre-pandemic levels.
- NPR, 10/13: Trouble On Main Street. As of Oct. 7, the Fed had underwritten only about $2.5 billion worth of Main Street loans. That’s less than 1% of the assistance it said it would provide. Meanwhile, the pandemic recession has shuttered thousands and thousands of small and midsize businesses.
- Axios, 10/13: Exclusive: America’s true unemployment rate. If you measure the unemployed as anybody over 16 years old who isn’t earning a living wage, the rate rises even further, to 54.6%. For Black Americans, it’s 59.2%.
- Yahoo! Finance, 10/11: Small businesses are ‘engaged and enraged — they’re hanging on for dear life.’ Zimmerman points out that many of the small businesses impacted by COVID-19 have been those owned by women and people of color.