Schumer: Administration ‘must move heaven and earth’ to implement new unemployment benefits
Schumer’s comments come after more than 6.6 million people filed initial unemployment claims during the last week of March. That comes on top of the roughly 3.3 million initial claims filed in the previous week, underscoring how the spread of the virus has decimated the U.S. economy.
“Today’s jobless report shows the grim reality of the coronavirus’s crippling effect on our economy and working families,” Schumer said in a statement.
“The Department of Labor must move heaven and earth to—as quickly as possible—get the expanded unemployment benefits Congress passed last week into the pockets of workers who have lost their paychecks through no fault of their own. America’s workers and families cannot afford a delay,” he added.
The push to expand unemployment insurance was one of the thorniest sticking points in the negotiations over the $2.2 trillion stimulus package. In the end, Congress’s third coronavirus bill included expanded benefits that would provide an additional $600 a week in unemployment compensation for roughly four months.
Schumer, who was informed of the latest unemployment numbers during an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday, added that the boosted unemployment checks need to go out within two weeks.
“Think of that in human terms, of each individual most of them have worked hard and long at their companies. … So we got to get this plan up and running,” he added.
Schumer and Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden campaign: Trump and former vice president will have phone call about coronavirus Judge slams Wisconsin governor, lawmakers for not delaying election amid coronavirus outbreak The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden offers to talk coronavirus response with Trump MORE (I-Vt.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWhoopi Goldberg presses Sanders: ‘Why are you still in the race?’ Unprecedented health crisis called for historic expansion of unemployment insurance Coronavirus crisis scrambles 2020 political calculus MORE (D-Ore.) on Wednesday asked Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia “to do everything” within his authority to smooth the way for states to quickly disburse the boosted unemployment insurance.
“Do you have a plan to make sure that eligible Americans are able to receive their benefits within two weeks of applying? If yes, please share your plan with us. If no, please let us know how long you expect it will take for eligible Americans to receive their benefits and what Congress could do to speed up the process,” the senators asked in their letter.