Extend UI: Over 32M Americans set to lose $600-a-week unemployment benefits, here's what you can do to help
As the entire country struggles to get back on its feet from the coronavirus onslaught, there is another bad news around the corner. According to reports in the early days of the pandemic, unemployed citizens were being taken care by an impromptu safety net, created by the Congress that paid an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits on top of the often-meager weekly benefits they would normally have received.
However, according to CNBC, enhanced unemployment benefits are likely to end sooner than many may realize. The CARES Act, in all states, that provides the subsidy will end this weekend — on July 25 or 26 — unless Congress passes legislation before that to extend the timeline which looks increasingly unlikely.
Around 32 million Americans were collecting unemployment benefits as of June 27, according to the most recent data from the US Labor Department. They would continue to get standard state benefits, which averaged $383 a week in the first quarter of this year, according to the department. That amount would be a roughly 61% decrease in aid.
According to the report, Democrats have called for an extension of the weekly $600 supplement for jobless workers. Republicans have signaled they want those payments to end. It’s unclear what, if anything, would take their place if they disappear, but some Republicans have proposed a cash bonus for people who find new jobs or a reduced amount of aid. Failure to pass legislation by this weekend would effectively mean the $600-a-week unemployment enhancement would lapse.
Alert citizens have taken to Twitter to share information on what needs to be done. Felicia Burnett, the director of the online multicultural organization MomsRising, Tweeted, “Unless we take action NOW, millions of people will lose their unemployment benefits in the coming days. CALL YOUR SENATORS: Text 'ExtendUI' to 747464 and we'll connect you directly to your Senator’s office. #ExtendUI #Savethe600."
On their website blog, Elyssa Schmier, National Director, National Budget and Taxes of the organization said, "After you make your phone calls, please forward this email to five friends and ask them to call as well so you can double down on your impact! We need as many people as possible speaking out to make sure our elected leaders know that struggling families still need help and that we need them to take immediate action to extend unemployment benefits."
She emphasized that speaking out when so many others around the country are doing the same, will send a powerful message to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies in the Senate who are trying to stand in the way of extending the current level of unemployment benefits. She also stated in the blog that the US Senate must take immediate action and continue the $600 per week boost past the arbitrary July 31 deadline and tie its phase-out to economic indicators.
Failing to do so would mean more than 25 million workers will lose the $600 federal unemployment supplement, to the tune of more than $15 billion per week. That is money our families and economy needs to recover! They were joined by other supporters who tweeted, "Help me help Millions of Americans! #ExtendUI Many Unemployed are from Industries that will take time to recover. Should they be competing for the few jobs that are out there? Or waiting patiently to return from furloughs."
Another wrote "With unemployment in the double digits we can't afford to be cutting unemployment benefits for tens of millions of families.#WeAreTheEconomy. Congress must #ExtendUI and #Savethe600!" One even said, "#ExtendUI for the entertainment production industry folks that WANT to work but have no place to EARN while COVID has us shut down."
As reported by WJLA, protesters marched to the DC home of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday, July 22, afternoon, demanding an extension of pandemic unemployment benefits that may soon be reduced or expire. According to a Bloomberg report, McConnell may introduce the GOP stimulus plan as soon as Thursday with a series of bills that would serve as an opening to negotiations with Democrats.