Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., calls for extending unemployment insurance programs in the pandemic until February 2022, she announced during a virtual town hall on Tuesday.
The congresswoman said she would present a bill to extend federal unemployment programs created under the CARES Act in March 2020, which expired during Labor Day. If approved, the enhanced unemployment assistance will be retroactive to 6 September and extended until 1 February 2022.
Millions of Americans and their families lost their access to pandemic UI programs this month that provided assistance to unemployed freelancers, concert workers, caregivers, and the long-term unemployed. All remaining workers claiming unemployment benefits also lost the $ 300 weekly booster set up to supplement low state aid.
“I have been very disappointed on both sides of the aisle that we have simply allowed pandemic unemployment assistance to lapse completely when we are clearly not fully recovered from the consequences of the pandemic,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Although she added that she was not sure the prospects for the legislation would be adopted, Ocasio-Cortez said she “simply could not let this happen without at least trying” to expand unemployment assistance.
Many GOP lawmakers and business owners have blamed the weekly booster, which in some cases pays recipients more in benefits than their previous salary, for discouraging people from taking new jobs, even though the number of openings has surpassed the number of people looking for work. in recent months.
Several studies have shown that unemployment benefits have had a minimal impact on employment, and that concerns about the virus and ongoing childcare challenges remain top problems for workers assessing their job opportunities in the midst of the health crisis.
The majority of workers who received pandemic assistance are not entitled to traditional unemployment benefits from their state. Lawyers have stressed that workers supported by expired pandemic programs are also disproportionately black, Hispanic, Asian, women and low-income earners.
The Democrats in Congress debated whether to extend the benefits, but ultimately chose not to do so.
The Biden administration said earlier that it was “appropriate” so that the federal emergency programs cease. But the Washington Post reported in early September, days before the program was suspended, that senior officials across several parts of the government “made it clear that they believe the benefit cut poses a serious threat to millions of Americans who remain unemployed.”
In August, the Biden administration urged states to use emergency aid to provide additional benefits to millions across the country who are still out of work. However, many government work departments confirmed that they do not intend to extend or provide additional benefits alone.
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