Enhanced unemployment benefits are slated to run out on July 31, in just a few days, which means that millions of Americans will see drastic cuts to their unemployment checks—that is unless Republicans in Congress decide to care for about how people put food on the table all of a sudden. (Unlikely.) Democrats in the House and Senate are calling for the weekly $600 addition to be extended through the rest of this hellish year.
But Republicans, naturally, want you to eat shit and die because social welfare is only for corporations and the rich and not for the rest of us plebes. On Monday, Senate Republicans are expected to release their proposal, which they had promised to release last week. But because they couldn’t quite decide precisely how and to what extent they want to destroy any semblance of stability people have left, their plan was delayed. Early leaks of their plan reveal that it sucks as much as you’d expect.
More, from the Washington Post:
Senate Republicans want to reduce the $600 payment to $200 until states can implement a new approach that would pay the unemployed 70 percent of the income they collected before they lost their jobs. The states are supposed to phase in the new formula within two months under the new GOP plan, though it’s unclear how cumbersome that process could prove to be.
Many state unemployment systems are expected to have difficulty implementing the more targeted program, so the $200 weekly payment would be designed to serve as a bridge until the other changes are made. The $200 would come on top of whatever unemployment benefits states already pay, which vary but generally replace 45 percent of a worker’s wages before they lost their job.
Aside from giving people the ability to pay the bills and not worry about being forced to risk their health to go back to a job, the $600 each week has allowed many Americans who were previously being paid poverty wages to live free of financial hardship. As 30-year-old Andrea from Wisconsin told the New Republic, “It felt amazing making a living wage for once.” Her full story is worth reading, as a reminder that our government can actually help people live satisfying lives free of material want:
The full benefit has been enough to completely cover my rent, groceries, and transportation. It felt amazing making a living wage for once. Before the pandemic, I made less than half of my unemployment benefits and was living paycheck to paycheck. Life was more of a struggle then. Even though we were on lockdown, the everyday stress of “how am I going to pay my bills or afford food this month?” disappeared. It felt like a paradox. The world was—is?—collapsing around us, but I was able to finally afford to live. I almost felt guilty for feeling relieved, but I mostly felt enraged that the government has the ability to provide a safety net for its citizens, yet it took a global pandemic for them to prove it.
As John Lewis lies in state, his voice reverberated through Congress for one final time.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump announced that he won’t be paying his respects to Lewis, and to be honest, I’m not mad. I guess he’s too busy sending more federal goons to Portland.
- Noted interior decorator Melania Trump apparently has a lot of free time in the midst of a pandemic and has decided to dabble in landscape decor. She plans on redesigning the White House Rose Garden, apparently, so her husband will look less like a sweating pile of poop mixed with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos during televised interviews. [New York Times]
- Another person close to Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus, this time it’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien. It is with deep sadness that I inform you that, per Bloomberg, “his infection poses no risk to the president or Vice President Mike Pence.” [Bloomberg]
- Senator Tom Cotton, who is currently on a crusade against schools teaching kids about slavery using the New York Times’s 1619 Project, is doing his very racist best to defend his remarks that “slavery was a necessary evil.” [NBC News]
- Here’s a timeline of how Trump has used the covid-19 pandemic to target immigrants. [The Americano]
- Medicare for All will be a big debate at next month’s DNC. [Politico]
- Will we know which woman of America will be Joe Biden’s chosen VP pick by the DNC? I certainly hope so, but if noted sexist Chris Dodd has anything to say about it (and he does, because Biden appointed him to his VP search committee), it won’t be Kamala Harris, because as Dodd reportedly put it, she “had no remorse” over attacking Biden during her own run. [Politico]