VEASEY, JOHNSON, JACKSON LEE, ALLRED DEMAND SENATE EXTEND EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE AMID PANDEMIC

Jul 23, 2020
Press Release
The House Passed Bill in May to Extend Weekly Payments, If Senate Refuses to Act Before End of July, 30 Million Americans Will Lose $600 Weekly Income

WASHINGTON, DC – Representatives Marc Veasey (TX-33), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), and Colin Allred (TX-32) held a call with regional reporters today demanding the Senate extend $600 weekly emergency unemployment payments that are due to expire at the end of this month.

In May, the House passed legislation known as the Heroes Act to extend emergency unemployment payments and other critical lifelines for workers and families amid the Coronavirus pandemic. But the Senate has refused to bring it up for a vote.  

  • If Senate Republicans allow the emergency unemployment program to expire, 30 million American workers will lose $600 in weekly income – as more and more Americans file for unemployment each week. 
  • Economists estimate that allowing emergency unemployment income to expire could drop U.S. GDP by 2.5%, harming the already struggling economy, delaying the recovery and causing even more Americans to lose their jobs.

In addition to extending emergency unemployment income, the House-passed Heroes Act also supports state and local governments that been forced to slash nearly 1.5 million jobs as state budgets are coming due amid crushing budget shortfalls.

“1.3 million Texas workers will lose over half their weekly income at the beginning of August unless an unemployment extension is passed in the next few days,” said Rep. Veasey. “The fact that there is no extension already in place is completely unacceptable for North Texas families that have depended on this vital relief throughout these unprecedented times. I implore Republicans to end their obstruction of the Heroes Act and start working to get Americans the relief they need before it is too late.”

“I am very concerned with the Senate’s inability to pass additional coronavirus relief legislation in a timely manner. As Leader McConnell lets the bills pile up on his desk, real people, including my constituents, are suffering,” Rep. Johnson continued.  “Among the COVID-19 relief initiatives that have kept our economy from completely collapsing is a per-week unemployment insurance payment. This vital funding, which provides those who were laid off due to the pandemic weekly installments of $600, is necessary to protect the health and safety of these individuals. To take away or reduce the amount of this insurance is counterproductive to our efforts to contain the virus and mitigate its effects.

“It is imperative that the Senate extends the $600 weekly emergency unemployment payments. We cannot leave 30 million hard working American families behind during one of the worst pandemics in history. Houstonians are hurting and afraid and they cannot afford to lose a lifeline of $600 a week. It is our duty as federal leaders to take all necessary actions during a national crisis. We must save jobs, families and most importantly we must save lives. The clock has run out and it’s time for Senate Republicans to step up to the plate and protect American families,” said Rep. Jackson Lee.

“We are facing a crisis, and we must all work together to deliver relief to communities across Texas. So many North Texans are without work with bills still piling up and our local governments are stretched thin as they respond to COVID-19. Relief during a pandemic should not be a partisan issue. The House voted to extend these expanded unemployment benefits and provide much-needed relief to our local governments with the passage of the Heroes Act in May. The Senate should act immediately,” said Rep. Allred.

In addition to extending emergency unemployment insurance, the Heroes Act that the House passed in May will  protect the paychecks of frontline workers, provide direct payments of up to $6,000 for families who are struggling, support small businesses and invest in the testing needed to reopen our economy safely.

Without the funding provided by the Heroes Act, state and local governments have already been forced to slash nearly 1.5 million jobs as state budgets are coming due amid crushing budget shortfalls. The Heroes Act supports health care workers, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers by making sure state, local, territorial and tribal governments have the funds they need to pay these workers.

A summary of the Heroes Act is available HERE.