Congress

Unemployment Will End For Many Even With Renewal

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

It's still possible that Senate Republicans will agree to some form of stimulus or aid package before they leave Washington for Christmas at the end of this week, but it doesn't seem very likely.

Even if they do agree to something, however, it may already be too late for many people.

The problem is that restarting state systems under a new aid package could take weeks and that will be exacerbated by the holidays. And if Republicans insist on tinkering with the current formula, it could take even longer.

“We’re already too late,” said Michele Evermore, an unemployment insurance expert at the National Employment Law Project. From the time Congress passes an extension of unemployment aid, she said, many states wouldn't be up and running for "three weeks or four weeks" at the fastest. [...]

Anything Congress includes in the next round of aid that is even modestly different from the programs implemented earlier this year “is going to take time to reprogram,” said Elizabeth Pancotti, a policy adviser at the pro-worker Employ America. “In some states that might be a week or two; in other states, we've seen it [take] five, six, seven weeks.”

This feels like a familiar tale at this point, doesn't it?

Millions of Americans faced a similar fiscal cliff in August when Republicans dithered and ultimately refused to renew the expanded pandemic unemployment program that afforded Americans an extra $600 per week. Restarting that program would have taken weeks. Trump temporarily revived by program in a limited form by directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to use disaster relief funds as a form of unemployment, but that also took nearly two months to implement in some states and benefits had to be back-dated to before the program effectively ran out of money.

I honestly have no idea of congressional leaders will agree to another aid package this week -- maybe they will and maybe they won't -- but if they do agree to something I feel certain that it will be piecemeal and inadequate.

Something is better than nothing, I suppose. A substantive stimulus package will hinge on whether or not Democrats win two special elections in Georgia and finally purge the "grim reaper" Mitch McConnell from his position. If McConnell retains control, he'll ensure that we're stuck in a economic morass and stunted growth for the next two years.

Don't vote for people who want you broke and dead.