Neal: Congress Must Act on Expiring Unemployment Provisions
SPRINGFIELD, MA — As the December 31 cutoff date for a number of COVID-related unemployment supports approaches, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) today emphasized the importance of Congress extending the assistance beyond the end of the year.
“As case numbers rise and hospitals across the country fill, it’s clear that the end of 2020 does not mark the end of the COVID-19 crisis. We should extend pandemic-related unemployment assistance accordingly,” said the Chairman. “Millions of jobs that have been lost this year have not yet returned due to public health considerations, and workers are counting on the government to help them make ends meet as the economy slowly climbs out of the ongoing recession. The July 31 cutoff of the $600 per week emergency supplement to unemployment benefits was a huge blow to struggling families and resulted in a considerable hit to consumer demand. Now, workers and the economy are due to endure yet another setback when other COVID-related aid expires next month. The House has already passed extensions of these critical relief provisions, but Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans have refused to do the same. There is no time to delay – action is urgently needed to prevent millions of workers from abruptly losing vital assistance while we continue our efforts to crush the virus and right the economy.”
The Chairman’s comments come as Ways and Means Committee Democrats today released a fact sheet that outlines the benefits that will expire on December 31 without congressional action. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and full federal funding for Extended Benefits are all scheduled to end at the end of the year, as are several provisions intended to reduce the risk of higher state tax rates on employers as they are trying to survive and bring back their workforce.
“I’ve consistently said that we will not be able to solve the COVID-19 economic crisis until we defeat the virus,” added Chairman Neal. “Unless we end the public health emergency, it won’t be safe for workers to return to their jobs, and the federal government will need to keep providing additional unemployment assistance. Allowing the remaining pandemic unemployment supports to cut off in a few weeks would be a disastrous misstep, and I will continue to push for these provisions’ extension.”
View Ways and Means Democrats’ fact sheet on the year-end unemployment insurance cliff HERE.
Find more resources on the Committee’s actions to support workers and families through the COVID-19 crisis HERE.