July 31,2020

Press Contact:

Ashley Schaptil (202) 224-4515

Wyden, Brown, Cortez Masto, MomsRising, Workers Call For $600 Weekly Boost to Unemployment Benefits to Be Reinstated

Senators and workers highlight devastating effect on families

Washington, D.C. – With the $600 per week federal boost to unemployment benefits expiring today, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., hosted a press conference call with MomsRising and workers to call for the $600 to be reinstated and highlight the devastating effects on workers and their families.

Senator Ron Wyden

“The United States is at 60,000 cases and 1,000 deaths per day, day after day after day. As a result of Donald Trump’s failure to contain the virus, the economic recovery has completely stalled. While Democrats are fighting to save the $600 boost to unemployment benefits, Republicans are in disarray. As a result of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell’s dithering, 30 million Americans are going to see their incomes cut by more than half overnight. This will devastate families, and our economy. Families are going to be unable to pay rent or buy groceries. As a result, $15 billion per week will be taken out of the economy, and five million jobs will be lost. I’m not going to stop fighting until the $600 is reinstated.”

Senator Sherrod Brown

“After spending months dragging their feet and saying they felt ‘no urgency’ to act, Mitch McConnell, Senate Republicans and President Trump have released a proposal that hurts working people and cuts critical unemployment benefits for struggling families by $400 a week. This assistance is one of the only things keeping people in their homes. It’s an insult to the people who make this country work. This Republican proposal is not a serious one, and I’m fighting for a better deal that puts workers first.”

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

“Thousands of Nevadans who honored their commitment to the health and safety of their communities by staying home to stop the spread have relied on the extra $600 in monthly unemployment benefits to pay their rent and keep food on the table. Yet now, Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans have turned their backs on those struggling families by failing to act before the expiration of this assistance. If Senate Republicans are serious about helping Americans, they need to immediately reinstate the full Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and take up the offer Senate Democrats have been extending to them for months: come to the table and negotiate legislation that will put working families first.”

Hannah Silver, Oregon

“What $600/week means for me as an independent contractor out of business is roughly that I have my own health insurance, rent, and groceries covered. That is it. Baseline healthcare, shelter, and food for one person – absolute basics of living. I am not going on vacation, pocketing into savings, or online shopping. I am a single person, fairly healthy, but still incur other costs, should I need to see a doctor, take my pets to the veterinarian, assist friends or family, etc. This $600/week is a lifeline for those of us whose dreams to run a small business or be our own bosses are taking hard pivots right now in order to survive.”

Katie Krupp, Ohio

“The UI benefits have allowed me to stay current with my bills and stay financially stable. Without them, I would not be able to keep my home and important possessions. This proposal will hurt real people who are struggling, and I’m sharing my story to draw attention to this issue and the urgent need to extend this critical assistance.”

Molly Lynch, Nevada

“In June, our application was processed and we started receiving benefits. The $600 per week boost has been a huge relief – a lifeline for my small, growing family. The unemployment boost allowed us to meet our basic needs and even catch up on a few bills. As we think about that last $600 check, we’re faced with impossible decisions. Should we try to catch up on our electric bill, which we’re $900 behind on? Should we stock up on food? What about diapers? It’s so hard planning for a baby who will be here in just three months while we try to hang on financially and protect our health. Moms like me are under a lot of stress right now. It feels like some in Congress don’t really understand what we’re going through. We need our elected officials to listen to us and extend the boost to unemployment to protect us and our families.”

Sharmah Wardlaw, Georgia 

“Before the pandemic, I had a good, stable life with my daughter, who is in college. I had worked as a concierge at a local convention center for 15 years. Then, the pandemic came. Since then, our lives have been much more difficult. I just got a letter from my employer warning that I would probably be on layoff status through August and September. Even though they are reopening this week, business is bad. It’s hard not to panic because that means we’re going to have to continue relying on unemployment – and without the $600 a week boost, we won’t even be able to keep up with the rent. We are praying that Congress extends it. Otherwise we don’t know what we’re going to do.”