1.3 Million More People File for Unemployment as Enhanced Benefits Are Set to Expire

1.3 million more Americans filed for unemployment last week. Although the number of new unemployment claims has dropped over the last four months, several states have been forced to shutter their economies once again after reopening too early, contributing to a spike in cases. In particular, Florida, Texas, and Arizona have become the nation’s new hotspots in the current surge.

The additional $600 the government gives to those collecting unemployment is set to expire on July 31st. However, Congress “is inching closer to an agreement to extend at least some” of the enhanced unemployment benefit, according to The Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers face a tight deadline when they return from their break to discuss another relief package.

“The extra $600 per week has been an absolute lifeline for these Americans,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) said yesterday, adding that it would be “cruel” to allow the benefit to expire.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vowed to have a package ready for President Donald Trump to sign before Congress leaves on its traditional August recess.

“We’ll have a bill and hopefully we’ll have it sooner rather than later because people really need to have it, and we should have it before the expiration of the unemployment insurance,” Pelosi said yesterday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirmed Congress will begin discussing unemployment benefits next week. He did not specify how much aid individuals could expect to receive. Republicans and the White House have supported a decrease in the benefit amount.