Last Friday, the $600-per-week Pandemic Unemployment Assistance — an additional payment for desperate Americans above state unemployment checks — expired. The previous week saw the end of eviction protections for many renters.
As the coronavirus ravages more states than ever, things are getting worse.
Not only have jobless claims exceeded 1 million for 19 weeks in a row, the last two weeks saw mounting increases. In New York alone, 1.8 million are unemployed and nearly a million face potential eviction when state protections lapse.
Yet over the weekend and through Tuesday, negotiations between Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer remained stalled.
On the sidelines: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. House Democrats passed their stimulus bill nearly three months ago; the Senate GOP began scrambling three weeks ago.
Republicans both suggest the $600-a-week discourages the unemployed going back to work and float the notion of extending the enhanced benefits for a few weeks. Democrats rightly reject that given that the level of the crisis requires relief for months to come. Many states and localities, New York chief among them, need direct aid to their coffers. Many transit systems are in the red. If schools have any hope of reopening as the president is demanding, more funding is essential.
This is a catastrophic failure that could be solved if the president pressed his partisan allies in the Senate to deal.
©2020 New York Daily News