NewsFlorida News


Why Congress must strike a deal to take jobless Americans until 2021 with weekly federal unemployment checks

Posted at 5:02 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 17:56:02-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Some people have seen $900 pop into their checking accounts Wednesday as the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity works to disperse the three federal unemployment payments funded by FEMA.

But, that could be the last of federal payments for a while if Congress can’t come to a compromise.

Furloughed from her job back in April, Charissa Ward has spent her time helping others get their unemployment benefits.

“We have people that can’t even pay their rent let alone food or anything else,” she said.

The $900 has been a welcoming sight in the bank accounts of folks who have been relying on unemployment checks to get by.

“I’ve heard that it’s been approved for up to five weeks so far, so there are two more weeks possible, but it’s not gonna last much longer than that,” Ward said.

That’s because the $44 billion is coming from FEMA and when it’s spent the Lost Wages Assistance program is over.

It’s why Congress must come to a deal on a new coronavirus relief package to take jobless American’s until the end of the year with weekly checks.

”Congress is definitely hearing our cries, I mean we’ve been flooding senators phone lines for weeks now,” Ward said.

According to ABC News, Thursday, the Senate is expected to vote on a GOP proposal that would carve out a $300 weekly unemployment benefit for those without a job but an agreement doesn’t seem likely.

“It’s just a lot of, a lot of politics when it’s about people's lives here,” said Ward.

She and other folks across the nation with the advocacy group Unemployed Action continuing to fight for an extension of the CARES act money where folks received $600 a week and she says they won’t stop.

“We want to survive, we want to pay our bills, we want to provide for our kids. That’s all we’re asking,” she said.

ABC News says the GOP proposal would also allocate $105 billion for schools, $29 billion for vaccines, and $16 billion for testing. Plus, the paycheck protection program could see additional funding with small businesses potentially getting loan forgiveness.