At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when a lot less was known about the virus and how to counter it, and while the nation was still ramping up production of testing and hospital resources including ventilators needed, 25 million jobs were lost across the country, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Since labor markets bottomed in April, 13.8 million jobs have been recovered, as states have begun steadily reopening in the months since.
Some unemployed workers received nearly twice as much money through unemployment insurance (UI) payments authorized through the CARES Act than they earned when they were employed, a new study from the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) found.
In response to states shutting down economies over coronavirus fears, Congress passed several relief bills, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These two bills expanded the UI benefit period, suspended work search requirements, included newly eligible individuals, and added a $600-per-week unemployment benefit enhancement through July 31.
As deliberations continue in Congress over how to allocate another $1 trillion worth of stimulus money, governors and mayors say they need more than the $139 billion already allocated to their states in March to cover revenue shortfalls.
A total of $150 billion was allocated to help state, local and tribal governments with specific COVID-19 response programs.
The additional $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits expire Friday after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected a White House offer to temporarily extend them.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that, “Senate Republicans tried several ways to extend the expiring unemployment assistance. Democrats blocked them all and refused another dime for COVID-19 relief unless they get to pass a bill that includes an unrelated tax cut for rich people in blue states.”
Senate Republicans’ latest COVID-19 stimulus package proposes another round of direct payments to Americans and more enhanced federal unemployment benefits for workers who lose their jobs during coronavirus restrictions.
The $1 trillion package, called the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act was released Monday.
Senate Democrats are planning to insert a provision in the coronavirus relief bill that would place restrictions on the Trump administration’s ability to send federal agents to help quell protests in cities across the country.
The provision would require federal agents to identify themselves, use marked vehicles and stay on federal property rather than patrol city streets, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday, according to NBC News. Local officials including mayors and governors would need to approve the use of federal agents patrolling streets.
The federal unemployment insurance emergency payments of an additional $600 per week to those laid off because of COVID-19 restrictions discourages work and slows down economic recovery, several reports indicate. Several congressmen have introduced proposals to address the issue.
A report published by the Foundation for Government Ability (FGA) found that by nearly tripling average unemployment benefits through the CARES Act, “Congress has created a situation where unemployment now pays better than work” for roughly 68 percent of U.S. workers.
U.S. Representatives Ted Budd (R-NC-13) and Ken Buck (R-CO-04) introduced the Getting Americans Back to Work Act to amend a portion of the CARES Act, which resulted in some unemployed filers receiving higher wages through unemployment compensation than through their previous jobs.
The bill caps the amount an individual can receive from unemployment insurance at 100 percent of their previous wages.
One of the regulators pegged to oversee the coronavirus stimulus is married to a corporate attorney who touts her history of defending companies in civil and criminal enforcement cases before the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), public records show.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tapped attorney Bharat Ramamurti to sit on the Congressional Oversight Commission, a five-member panel Congress created in March to oversee the $2.2 trillion stimulus package. The commission’s statute does not explicitly require members to disclose their finances, though three of the members are obligated to provide disclosures as they are lawmakers.
Americans have come together in the fight against the invisible enemy, but this situation has been made worse by some politicians who seek to take advantage of this pandemic and our recovery while so many are suffering. President Trump has been working around the clock to slow the spread of the Wuhan virus and get the economy going again, but Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have used this crisis to push their radical socialist agenda and grow the size of government. Twice now, Nancy Pelosi held American families, workers, and businesses hostage for days by delaying relief funding in the name of securing tens of millions of dollars for the Kennedy Center, pushing her Green New Deal, changing voting laws, and growing government to advance her radical socialist agenda.
Even more recently, there have been calls to give handouts to failing state and local governments, not because of the coronavirus, but because these states have been mismanaged and run irresponsibly. The American taxpayer should not bail out state and local governments for the reckless fiscal decisions made before the coronavirus.
The Small Business Administration and the U.S. Treasury revealed Sunday that the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program has issued 2.2 million loans, totaling $175 billion.
PPP loans are forgivable loans for small businesses to offset some of the losses experienced by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The loans are meant to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple colleges are still committed to hiring administrators for diversity initiatives on campus. This comes as thousands of universities around the country collect billions of dollars in bailout money from American taxpayers.
Former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro said that those living unlawfully in the United States should be included in coronavirus relief packages doled out by the government.
Castro gave an interview to the Daily Kos divulging his thoughts on the recent coronavirus pandemic and how the United States should handle the crisis. Much like his time on the presidential campaign trail, Castro staked out progressive positions on the intersection of illegal immigration and role of American government.
One of the largest banks in the United States announced that it is no longer accepting applications for a federal program aimed at rescuing small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Wells Fargo has stopped accepting new applications for the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, an initiative created by the government to assist U.S. businesses that employ fewer than 500 people. The bank’s decision came after it was inundated with billions of dollars in loan requests since Friday.
One of the key aspects of President Donald Trump and Congress’ $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package are provisions for $350 billion for 30 million small businesses to cover payrolls for 60 million Americans for eight weeks to encourage people to stay home to wait out the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
Along with the expanded unemployment and credit facilities covering critical industries and larger employers, the policy is designed to ensure that in saving as many lives as possible — the White House coronavirus task force has said as many as 2.2 million Americans could die without social distancing — we don’t find ourselves in a long, deep recession or depression as a result that might take a decade to recover from.
When Rahm Emanuel told audiences that former President Barack Obama should “never let a serious crisis go to waste,” he was applauded. Emanuel was referring to the Obama Administration’s response to the Great Recession. Clearly, President Obama agreed. Obama ushered in the greatest reorganization of the American socio-economic order under the auspices of resolving the financial crisis (which, of course, Obama never actually did resolve).
Similarly, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus from Wuhan, China offers President Trump a momentous opportunity to enact his own sweeping agenda – all of which would be far more beneficial to the American people than Obama’s statism. Trump needs to press his advantage with as much vigor and alacrity as Obama pressed his during the financial crisis.
The start of the devastation from the Chinese virus is clearly reflected in the new monthly jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows that the economy axed 701,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate jumped from a near historic low of 3.5% to 4.4%.
The House of Representatives on Friday passed the Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus relief package and sent it to the president. What initially began as a bill designed to help the workers and families hurt by job loss or disruption caused by government measures to fight coronavirus morphed into an 880-page behemoth.
Here are the highlights: the good, the bad, and the ugly.