Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, stated during a virtual townhall Tuesday that she wants pandemic-era unemployment insurance programs extended until February 2022.
Democratic Lawmaker Will Introduce a Bill that Extends $300 Unemployment Benefit
In a recently published article in CNBC, the Democratic congresswoman has said that she would propose legislation to prolong federal unemployment benefits created by the March 2020 CARES Act, which expired on Labor Day. If approved, the increased unemployment assistance would be retroactive to September 6 and would be extended until February 1, 2022.
This month, millions of Americans and their families lost access to key UI programs that helped out-of-work freelancers, gig workers, carers, and the long-term jobless. All remaining employees receiving unemployment benefits were also denied the $300 weekly increase designed to offset inadequate state assistance.
Ocasio-Cortez said “I’ve been very disappointed on both sides of the aisle that we’ve just simply allowed pandemic unemployment assistance to completely lapse when we are clearly not fully recovered from the consequences of the pandemic,” according to a published report in The Washington Post.
Furthermore, while she said she is unsure of the legislation’s chances of passage, Ocasio-Cortez stated that she “could not allow this to happen without at least attempting” to prolong unemployment benefits.
Impact of $300 Weekly Unemployment Benefit
Many Republican lawmakers and business owners have blamed the weekly boost, which in some cases pays recipients more in benefits than their previous wages, for discouraging people from taking new jobs, despite the fact that the number of openings has recently surpassed the number of people looking for work.
Several studies have shown that unemployment benefits have had no effect on hiring, and that worries about the virus and continuing child-care problems remain top priorities for employees assessing their job chances in the midst of the health crisis, according to a report published in Yahoo News.
The vast majority of employees who got pandemic assistance do not eligible for regular state unemployment compensation. Workers supported by expiring pandemic programs are also disproportionately Black, Hispanic, Asian, women, and low-income earners, according to advocates.
Statement of Biden Administration Over the Unemployment Benefit
The Biden administration earlier said that the termination of emergency government programs was “appropriate.” In early September, just days before the program’s end date, top officials from throughout the administration made plain they believe the benefits cliff presents a significant risk to millions of Americans who remain unemployed.
In August, the Biden administration urged states to utilize emergency coronavirus funding to give extra benefits to millions of people still out of work throughout the nation. However, several state labor agencies have said that they have no plans to extend or provide new benefits on their own.