WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. economy fell further into recession as almost 1 million more Americans joined the unemployment ranks this week. And yet this week Congress is no further in resolving the impasse over the next major coronavirus stimulus bill after the Senate allowed the CARES Act’s enhanced $600 federal unemployment benefits to expire July 31st for over 30 million workers, which a U.S. House bill passed in May would have extended. So what’s the hold up? Among the ‘key obstacles’ to progress is a demand from President’s Senate allies that corporations be granted blanket immunity against claims from workers mistreated during the pandemic. Meanwhile, now up to 40 million Americans are at risk of eviction and nearly 30 million Americans are dealing with food insecurity.
“While the President’s Senate allies are enjoying a taxpayer-paid vacation right now, tens of millions of Americans are worrying about food and housing in the middle of the worsening recession and health crisis,” said Accountable.US president Kyle Herrig. “The $600 extra unemployment benefits had been a godsend for so many struggling families, and the latest double-digit unemployment report shows why they must be continued.”
It’s now been over two weeks since the extra federal unemployment benefits expired in most states, and jobs have not magically reappeared as the right-wing predicted. Reality remains that we can’t fix the economy until we get a handle on the health crisis. Large, wealthy corporations have been given access to tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts throughout the pandemic — CEOs’ requests for even more special treatment should not be what holds up relief for the struggling small businesses and workers who need help the most.
Poll after poll after poll has shown strong public support for extending the full $600 benefit. Even if President Trump’s recent executive order were to take full effect, it would amount to a painful $300 benefit cut that could take more than a month to arrive and would exclude at least a million unemployed workers.