Trump and Pelosi play hard ball while workers struggle to recover from COVID disaster

Oct 7 '20 | By Ray

As millions of families face economic hardships on an unparalleled scale, President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both multi-millionaires, continue to play hard ball with one another, and drag their feet as the federal government remains locked in a stalemate over desperately needed coronavirus relief funds for millions of struggling, and unemployed Americans.

Despite reaching a consensus in other areas like a second round of stimulus checks, and additional bailouts for airlines and small businesses, Democrats and Republicans are still unable to find common ground on enhanced unemployment benefits; more than two months after the expiration of a prior, $600 weekly subsidy that had helped keep millions of households afloat.

Unemployment benefits for more than 26 million Americans receiving jobless benefits as of mid-September appears to be the key sticking point in the negotiations, seven months into the COVID charged economic crisis that crippled working class family’s nationwide.

As Republicans and the President are adamant that the additional $600 unemployment benefit discourages workers from returning to work, Democrats want to reinstate the $600 weekly payments, which came on top of state-allotted aid before expiring in July, in order to help bolster consumer spending and the U.S. economy as signs have emerged that the economic recovery is coming up short. 

House Democrats narrowly passed a $2.2 trillion relief package on Thursday that would extend a $600-a-week supplement to unemployment benefits through January 2021. Federal lawmakers had enacted that weekly enhancement as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act relief law in March. Those additional relief funds expired and stopped being paid to unemployed workers at the end of July.

After the initial CARES Act expired, the Trump administration later enacted a Lost Wages Assistance program in August that offered a $300 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits for only up to six weeks, paid for with federal disaster relief funds. (A few states paid an extra $100, for a total of $400). Trump and the Republicans are seeking to extend this program, which is $200 a week less than the Democrats plan.

But workers in some states haven’t yet received that aid, due to bureaucratic administrative delays. And hundreds of thousands of workers, primarily low-income and part-time workers, weren’t eligible for that money due to program guidelines that deemed there income too low to qualify. This exclusion has created immeasurable financial damages for low income workers, causing evictions and food shortages for those workers and their families.

The extra $300 unemployment weekly payment is over in some states. Here are the states that announced the end of the $300 bonus: Texas, Utah, Iowa, Florida, California, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Montana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Idaho, New Hampshire, and Missouri.

States that have already exhausted the $300 bonus provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency won't be able to provide additional funds to their unemployment benefits until the bickering stops, and this next continuous stimulus bill is passed. After being approved, the extra jobless benefits would likely only last for a few months, and would likely take an additional two to four weeks for payments to flow to states and then recipients, according to the experts.

Although both parties broadly agree on another round of $1,200 checks, the President and his Senate majority continue to count nickels during one of the worst recessions in U.S. history, and balk at the idea of reforming an unemployment system that pays less than a poverty wage to the most productive workers, in the wealthiest nation on the planet.

On average, states paid just $305 a week (about $1,220 a month, before tax) in unemployment insurance to workers in August, according to Labor Department data. Louisiana and Mississippi for example, paid much less, paying just over $180 a week ($720 a month).

“If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?” the president tweeted late Tuesday. Later Trump wrote “Move Fast, I Am Waiting To Sign!” in a retweet on the manner.

Trump’s tweets come as a reversal from his position earlier in the day, when he said he wanted Washington lawmakers to hold off on stimulus negotiations until after the election. Forcing many economists to scratch their heads as the stock market took a dive surrounding uncertainty amongst retailers and goods producers.

The president rejected Pelosi’s HEROES Act coronavirus stimulus proposal, accusing her of “not negotiating in good faith.”

“I am rejecting their request, and looking to the future of our Country. I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” he tweeted.

A Trump re-election could lead to the quickest deal, while a Democratic sweep could lead to the largest amount of money for those unemployed. Although, the second scenario might be delayed until after the inauguration in January, both sides seem intent on using the public’s interest as collateral.

Not to be outdone in the social media mud slinging, Pelosi swung back In response to Trumps tweet, and issued a lengthy statement slamming Trump and his response to the pandemic as a whole. “Today, once again, President Trump showed his true colors: putting himself first at the expense of the country, with the full complicity of the GOP Members of Congress,”the House speaker said.

Walking away from coronavirus talks demonstrates that President Trump is unwilling to crush the virus, as is required by the Heroes Act,” said Pelosi. “He’s just again rebounding from a terrible mistake he made yesterday and the Republicans in Congress were going down the drain with him on that,” she continued.

As a looming financial crisis is set to coincide with a bitter election,  both political adversaries must put their political interests aside and do what’s right for the millions of struggling Americans, and CUT THA CHECK, including individual stimulus payouts ($1,200), in addition to weekly Federal unemployment benefits ($600) as soon as possible. Otherwise the next failure to nail a bill down for workers and small businesses, could result in a government shutdown, as the deadline is set for Dec. 11, such a catastrophic scenario would be disastrous for families that are in desperate need of immediate economic resources.


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