The HEALS Act and Cutting Unemployment Expansion
Republicans have finally presented the outlines of a second stimulus package called the HEALS Act. It includes more money for a second stimulus check but leaves out an eviction moratorium extension which expired on the 25th of July or rental assistance of any kind. It also cuts the unemployment expansion of $600/wk that many American families depend on for necessities.
Mitch McConnell is saying that they want to incentivize people to go back to work by cutting the expanded unemployment aid of $600/wk and replacing it with $100-200 or 70% of what people would have made at their jobs.
Just the other day Steve Mnuchin said “We’re not using taxpayer money to pay people more to stay home.” What this means is he does not want to use taxpayer money to support taxpayers who do not have jobs because businesses are unable to reopen at full capacity, if at all.
By refusing to support the American working class with their own tax dollars while millionaires get $1.6 million in tax cuts and billionaires get rich off of corporate bailouts, Congress is actually prolonging this crisis and making the economy worse. According to the Economic Policy Institute extending the $600 UI benefits through the middle of 2021 would provide an average quarterly boost to gross domestic product (GDP) of 3.7% and employment of 5.1 million workers.
Lisa Roberts, director of economic mobility at the Center For American Progress says, “Each dollar of unemployment insurance boosts economy-wide spending by $2. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that letting the $600 unemployment insurance extension expire would by itself lead to more job loss than happened in the recessions of the early 1990s or early 2000s.”
The HEALS Act also leaves out childcare funding, an eviction moratorium expansion, rental assistance, student loan relief, additional funding for local governments and other major crisis points that desperately need to be addressed and are intertwined with the health and economy of this country. But it did have an extra $30 billion for defense spending on top of $760 billion already passed.
Reducing the unemployment expansion and neglecting to address critical issues exacerbated by the pandemic isn’t just hypocritical and cruel, it’s bad for the economy and the public health of this country.
Yours in Strength,
The Take Back Control Team