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AOC to introduce bill extending unemployment aid after benefits expire for millions

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will table legislation to extend federal pandemic unemployment relief until early 2022 after benefits for millions of Americans expire in September.

“I was very disappointed on both sides of the aisle that we have just let pandemic unemployment assistance completely expire, while we are clearly not fully recovered from the cost effects of the pandemic,” he said. she said during her monthly town hall with voters on September 14, according to a statement from her office.

“I just couldn’t allow this to happen without at least trying,” she said.

The legislation proposes to extend all federal unemployment assistance until February 1, 2022, retroactively to September 8. A slew of Covid-19-related unemployment benefits expired for more than 7.5 million people on Labor Day.

On that day, three programs lapsed – one offered an additional $ 300 in weekly federal unemployment assistance, another provided relief to unemployed Americans who were not otherwise eligible, and another extended federal assistance for those who had exhausted state-level allowances.

President Joe Biden has suggested that states allocate more relief funds to continue to float unemployment aid, but state lawmakers appear unwilling to do so, and Congress and the White House have failed. signaled no willingness to relaunch aid amid the pandemic and its economic fallout.

A key part of the now-expired federal aid included a weekly supplement to state unemployment benefits, initially adding $ 600 per week from April to July 2020, then, after resuming in December, falling to $ 300 per week .

Congress also created two other programs – the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program supported independent entrepreneurs and self-employed Americans, while the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation extended unemployment assistance to people who have exhausted their state benefits.

More than 9 million people were receiving benefits from the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program or the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, and about 100,000 more applied for the latter program for the first time. during the last week of August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Improved unemployment assistance lifted 5.5 million Americans out of poverty, according to the US Census Bureau. Direct stimulus payments lifted 5.5 million people out of poverty, the agency said in its latest report.

Taking these benefits into account, the country’s poverty rate fell from 2.6 percent from 2019 to 9.1 percent in 2020, the lowest rate since 2009, when the agency began taking into account the impacts of all public aid in its annual poverty assessment.

A report from the US Department of Agriculture also suggests pandemic relief helped avert a larger food crisis in 2020, while mass unemployment following the start of the pandemic has hit black households badly. , families with children and southerners.

The report found that 10.5% of all U.S. households were food insecure, or nearly 14 million households – overall rates that were unchanged from 2019.

End of Covid-19 unemployment assistance follows loss of benefits for nearly 3 million Americans who were deprived of all or part of unemployment assistance in half of all states Americans – all but one Republican-governed – in a bid to push residents back to work earlier this summer.

Analysts have argued that removing these benefits has not led to an increase in hiring.

For eight workers who lost their unemployment benefit, only one found a job.

More than 3 million people were also not employed due to health concerns, without adequate or consistent safety measures in place against the transmission of Covid-19, while another 5.5 million took care of children who are not in school or enrolled in day care, according to a recent US Census Bureau survey.

The cliff of unemployment aid “couldn’t come at a worse time,” said Rakeen Mabud, chief economist at Groundwork Collaborative. “Millions of people will suffer by losing this vital source of income and the loss of spending will suppress job growth, setting us back once again in our efforts for an inclusive and equitable recovery.”

The Independent Gt

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