Lawmakers continue to debate next stimulus package as federal unemployment benefits expire

Updated: Jul. 31, 2020 at 7:03 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The extra money in federal unemployment benefits will stop Friday as many states continue to enforce restrictions and millions of Americans are still out of work.

This comes after Washington D.C. lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a new stimulus deal.

There are still over 20 million Americans out of work due to the pandemic and now with the loss of federal unemployment dollars and protections against evictions also ending last week, things are about to get much worse for those who were already struggling.

The $600 in extra unemployment benefits will officially expire Friday with no replacement in sight. That means out of work residents in some states could see their weekly payments fall by more than 90 percent.

In Louisiana, weekly unemployment following the CARES Act was around $800 on average, but after Friday, that average will fall to less than $200.

The new White House and Republican approved stimulus package would significantly reduce the amount of unemployment but would offer payments in October to replace 70 percent of loss wages.

Democrats have accused Republicans of dragging their feet in negotiations to extend federal unemployment while those like Louisiana senator Bill Cassidy say reducing the amount of weekly unemployment payments will incentivize Americans to go back to work.

“Across the political spectrum economists will say if people earn more on unemployment, they’re less likely to work,” says Cassidy.

“Protections against evictions expired last week at a time when over 12 million Americans lived in households that missed the rent payment last month. Enhanced unemployment benefits for 20 to 30 million Americans out of work expire this week without a proper solution,” says Senator Chuck Schumer.

The proposed GOP plan would also include another round of the $1200 checks to Americans earning $75,000 a year or less.

There’s also new money and tax breaks to help struggling businesses.

Talks are expected to continue between both parties but it’s not clear how long it will take to reach a new deal.

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