AOC plans to introduce bill extending pandemic unemployment benefits
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) MP will enact law that will extend all federal pandemic unemployment programs through next year. The programs expired earlier this month and there is no extension in the infrastructure plans currently going through Congress.
"I was very disappointed on both sides of the aisle that we just allowed the pandemic unemployment benefits to expire completely, even though we clearly have not fully recovered from the cost consequences of the pandemic," Ocasio-Cortez said in a town hall on Tuesday. "I just couldn't let this happen without at least trying."
Ocasio-Cortez legislation extends the pandemic programs from September 6, when they expire, to February 1, 2022.
The Century Foundation estimates that an estimated 7.5 million unemployed lost all benefits in September when major pandemic unemployment programs ended.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., is seen on the steps of the Capitol's House of Representatives during a vigil led by Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., To call on President Biden and Congress to expire Renew eviction moratorium August 03, 2021. (Photo by Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
About 4.2 million workers have lost pandemic unemployment benefits - benefits for workers who are normally not eligible for regular unemployment insurance. Another 3.3 million workers receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which extends the duration of unemployment benefits, have also lost benefits. The additional $ 300 in weekly benefits paid by the federal government also ran out.
Four million more workers lost some or all of their benefits in June and July after 26 states prematurely exited federal unemployment programs.
Pandemic unemployment benefits were extended three times during the pandemic - the last time in March - and have provided families with more than $ 800 billion. A provision to extend the benefits again was not included in President Joe Biden's original infrastructure proposal or in the House Democrats' version released earlier this week.
"I will reintroduce laws to bring pandemic unemployment benefits back," Ocasio-Cortez said. "I'm not exactly sure what the chances are for ... we'll make it, we'll try, but I just couldn't let us let this happen without at least trying."
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