As Unemployment Benefits Are Set To Expire For Millions Of Struggling Americans, The Senate Reportedly Departs For A Three Day Weekend

This is so wrong.

626 points

In the middle of one of the worst economies in American history, Senate Republicans have decided to adjourn for a three-day weekend instead of working to prevent crucial unemployment benefits from expiring.

The benefits currently support millions of Americans who are without jobs due to the pandemic. More than 40 million Americans are still unemployed because of Donald Trump’s reckless response to the coronavirus outbreak. The unemployment rate currently stands higher than 11 percent and will likely rise if spending ceases because benefits stop or are significantly cut.

Republicans want to cut payments to a mere $200 a week, while Democrats want to hold a vote on the package passed by the House that would keep the payments at $600 and extend them through January of next year.


But Republicans blocked the bill again and decided to take off for the weekend.

“The bottom line is this is the most serious health problem and economic problem we’ve had in a very—in a century and in 75 years,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “And it takes really good, strong, bold action. And they don’t quite get that.”

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich spelled out how disastrous it is to millions of Americans that Republicans are letting benefits expire.

Stand Up America press secretary Ryan Thomas singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as the primary villain.

After all, McConnell has the power to bring the House Democrats’ bill and others up for a vote to help the American people right now. Instead, he’s taking a three day weekend, something most American workers do not get themselves.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) also took aim at McConnell while pointing out that no number of gimmicks tried by the White House will soften the blow to American families who now face eviction and bankruptcy.

And that’s not all. Because the $600 a week gave unemployed people spending power, cutting or ending it means 3.2 million jobs that rely on it could also disappear, which will only compound our economic woes.

Republicans dropped the ball here, and them taking a three day weekend while people suffer is an insult to every American.

Featured image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore, under Creative Commons license 2.0

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626 points