April 27,2020

Press Contact:

Ashley Schapitl (202) 224-4515

Wyden Calls for Policies to Prevent Republican Economic Sabotage

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released the following statement proposing automatic triggers to preserve the extension of unemployment insurance benefits:

“The Congressional Budget Office has projected that the U.S. unemployment rate could remain at 9.5 percent at the end of 2021 without sufficient economic stimulus now. This would represent an unprecedented and unnecessary level of financial pain and suffering for the American people. 

“Republican calls for austerity also increased last week, with Leader McConnell calling for states to go bankrupt and lay off cops and teachers. He is largely supported by the Republican caucus. The same Republican senators who happily voted for the nearly $2 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations when unemployment was low are now clutching their pearls over a deficit needed to address actual economic strife.  

“Democrats cannot allow Republicans to run their cronyism-laced playbook and prolong economic pain for millions of Americans for their own political purposes. Nor should we allow them to hold American workers hostage by not supporting another penny of economic stimulus if Donald Trump loses the election.

“The next COVID-19 relief bill needs to make sure our unemployment insurance system continues to support workers and the economy throughout this crisis, not just the next few months. That means triggering extensions of benefits based on specific rates of unemployment instead of arbitrary timelines, bringing gig workers and others into the system permanently, and increasing traditional unemployment benefits to an appropriate level.

“Whether Americans who are struggling to keep food on the table get the help they deserve should not depend on the short-term political calculations of Mitch McConnell.”