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.
Just so we’re all clear, rent is due on Sunday, more than 25,000,000 unemployed Americans are about to lose their extra unemployment benefits, and the Senate just left for a three-day weekend.
Republicans have lost the right to govern.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) July 30, 2020
Stand Up America press secretary Ryan Thomas singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as the primary villain.
Mitch McConnell is holding our economy and our democracy hostage. He’s threatening our lives and livelihoods. Indefensible and disgusting. https://t.co/tbdmvY9dI3
— Ryan Thomas (@stateoftheryan) July 30, 2020
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.
As we have warned for weeks, the Senate needed to pass an extension a week ago to avoid a lapse in the expanded $600-per-week unemployment benefits.
Mitch McConnell’s failure to act already sealed this lapse, and half measures and gimmicks from the White House cannot undo it. https://t.co/sGfBY4XoGV
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) July 30, 2020
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.
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