Unemployment aid will vanish for 7.5 million workers in September. There's no plan to extend.
Unemployed people at a rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania last year. Cory Clark / NurPhoto via Getty Images
A Century Foundation report found that 7.5 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits in September.
These workers will lose all of their unemployment benefits, not just $ 300 a week.
As the Delta variant rises, DC politicians are not making plans to expand the benefits.
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In September, 7.5 million Americans are projected to lose all their unemployment benefits - not just the $ 300 a week from federal pandemic aid.
That figure comes from a new report by Andrew Stettner of the left-wing Century Foundation looking at the looming fiscal cliff the unemployed face. With the rise of the delta variant and the current pace of recovery, the report argues that the benefits will end too soon.
"We have tried to reverse the mistakes of the past with a more aggressive aid program, but we are still making the mistake of withdrawing too early from aid and economic stimulus programs," Stettner told Insider.
This will not only take away the benefits of the unemployed, said Stettner. "It will take consumer spending out of the economy, it will slow GDP growth."
But the White House hasn't done anything about it, even if the Delta variant dissolves an economic policy that aims to end when the pandemic subsides. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
The delta variant is on the rise as millions of them will lose all their unemployment benefits
These millions of unemployed workers received benefits through two federal pandemic-era programs: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which extended entitlement to benefits to include gig workers and the self-employed; and Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which extended how long beneficiaries could receive benefits.
The report estimates that 4.2 million workers will collect PUA and 3.3 million PEUC at the end of the benefits.
Then there are more than 3 million workers who are still receiving $ 300 weekly government unemployment insurance bonuses. When that is cut off, $ 3.5 billion less will flow through the economy.
Stettner said it would make more sense to maintain benefits until we get closer to pre-pandemic unemployment levels - not when millions are still filing jobless claims.
Senate Democrats are in the early stages of putting together a $ 3.5 trillion party package that is unlikely to attract GOP votes. That means that all 50 Senate Democrats have to stick together for the package to bypass the single GOP opposition in the Senate.
An expansion of the federal unemployment benefit seems unlikely so far. But in the coming weeks, Democrats could see the dire plight of many unemployed Americans.
"I'm sure a lot has been thinking - I have - what the next phase is when the economy gets stronger and jobs are available, what we should do about unemployment," said Senator Dick Durbin, the secondary Democrat, said Insider. "It's a tricky question because it varies - from worker to state, from region. But you know that help is still needed."
And that extension, if applied, would likely be included in the Law of Atonement. Stettner said it was better late than never.
There could of course be logistical problems with the reintroduction of unemployment. State unemployment systems have difficulty paying out benefits on time and an extension would keep these entitlements high. A more notable challenge is that 26 states - 25 of which are Republican-ruled - have opted out of federal benefits early. That means workers in many of these states were already cut off from PUA, PEUC, and an additional $ 300 per week - making bringing these benefits back into operation even more complicated.
Nevertheless, millions of workers could still be relieved for a little longer. As Stettner said: "If we can't do it now, when the congress offices have been bombarded with constituent complaints for a year and a half, when will we do it?"
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