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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/25/20

Millions Set to Lose Economic Benefits Over McConnell's Partisan Agenda

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Twelve million workers are set to lose federal unemployment benefits the day after Christmas if Republican lawmakers continue withholding funding for federal COVID-19 relief programs, according to a new Century Foundation report.

The study's authors, Andrew Stettner and Elizabeth Pancotti, explain that 40 million--one in four--workers benefitted from one of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act's programs for jobless citizens this year.

Just last April alone, the CARES Act helped lift over 18 million Americans out of poverty.

But its programs are coming to a close at the end of the year, threatening workers with evictions, student-loan bills, and other expenses as the pandemic ramps up again.

Stettner and Pancotti warn:

"Unless these programs are extended, only 18 states will provide any type of additional benefits to millions of the long-term unemployed. Without unemployment benefits and with savings badly depleted, families will be at high risk for food insecurity and loss of their homes, and many may be unable to pay for healthcare during some of the darkest days of the pandemic. The nation's entire economy will suffer."

The blame lies solely rest with Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund President, Sherrilyn Ifill, called Sen. McConnell's pronouncement to "bring the Senate together every day to push through more judges" while more Americans are left to rely on food banks "an outrage beyond words."

In the six months since the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, McConnell's priority has been confirming more federal judges to lifetime appointments.

NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez assailed McConnell's partisan cruelty:

"Just a day or two ago, the Senate majority leader, Senator McConnell, decide to break the Senate. And he broke the Senate as there are thousands of people in Texas lined up for food lines. He broke the Senate while hospitals no longer have beds to house the sick. He broke the Senate, and dismissed the Senate, while 30 million Americans are on the brink of eviction. He dismissed the Senate when every single day, when we go back to our communities, people are asking us, 'Where is there going to be help? Is there going to be a second stimulus check? Are we going to get the resources that we need? The Senate prides itself as one of the most deliberative bodies. They abandoned them."

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said:

"Cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing, which will cause the economy to further decline over the next few months. In the face of mass death and economic devastation, Mitch McConnell is doing nothing to provide relief to American families."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday demanded McConnell act in the American people's interest:

"For the sake of the country, we ask that you come to the table and work with us to produce an agreement that meets America's needs in this critical time."

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Ted Millar is a writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Straight Forward Poetry, Better Than Starbucks, the Broke Bohemian, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices (more...)

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