- About 12 million Americans could lose necessary jobless benefits one day after Christmas if Congress doesn’t reach a deal and pass a stimulus bill during the so-called lame-duck session, a new report found.
- Some 7.3 million gig and self-employed workers are relying on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, and 4.6 million people whose initial unemployment aid has expired are relying on the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, the report said.
- Despite looming deadlines, lawmakers don’t appear close to reaching an agreement on a new relief package, and negotiators for Democrats and Republicans haven’t met since before Election Day.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Nearly 12 million Americans could lose crucial unemployment benefits on December 26 if Congress doesn’t reach a deal and pass a coronavirus stimulus bill during the so-called lame-duck session, a new Century Foundation report said.
The report found that 7.3 million gig and self-employed workers relying on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and 4.6 million people relying on the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program â€” which extends unemployment aid after regular assistance expires â€” stand to lose the help they’re receiving.
Congress passed both forms of aid in March as part of the $US2 trillion CARES Act. The $US600 weekly federal unemployment aid that was a part of that law expired in July.
Economists have been raising alarms about this for months as lawmakers have failed to reach a deal. They have said Congress’ failure to pass a new relief package will have severe and long-term effects on American families and the health of the US economy.
Like COVID-19, unemployment has disproportionately affected Black and brown Americans, the report said.
A temporary national ban on evictions is also set to end on December 31, which could plunge the most vulnerable Americans into even more desperate situations. Student-loan forbearance implemented during the pandemic also expires on December 31.
Andrew Stettner, an unemployment researcher and coauthor of the Century Foundation report, told The Washington Post that the country was “careening into this huge cliff” and that lawmakers were ignoring the emergency.
“People are just totally, completely ignoring the situation at a time when things are getting worse before they’re going to get better in terms of public health,” he said.
A total of 21.1 million Americans are receiving unemployment aid as COVID-19 cases spike across the country. As of Wednesday, more than 11.4 million Americans had been infected by the coronavirus, and more than 249,000 people had died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Cases and hospitalizations have surged in much of the country as many people plan to travel to visit family and friends for the holidays.
Republicans and Democrats are at odds over the amount of aid needed in a new stimulus package. While the Democratic-controlled House has suggested two bills worth $US3 trillion and $US2.2 trillion, Republicans have proposed $US500 billion in new spending. Congress is also facing a deadline on December 11 to pass a spending bill to prevent the federal government from shutting down.
But negotiators for the two parties haven’t met since before Election Day, and lawmakers don’t appear close to making a deal.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.