WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Governor Tom Wolf are urging the US Congress to extend the additional $600 weekly unemployment benefit that expired last week. Both Democratic leaders joined forces during a conference call Tuesday on the issue.
Senator Casey says the Republican proposal to push compensation down to $200 a week doesn’t make sense, “It’s an insult for workers and their families. But, it’s also really bad for the American economy, which can’t stand many more hits, after all that has transpired.”
The benefit expired last Friday, after U.S. Senate Republicans made a first proposal a few days before the deadline. Governor Wolf says this money is still needed because there are simply no available jobs for anyone who is unemployed.
Wolf said, “People don’t have jobs, not out of laziness, not out of lack of work ethic or training, but because there are simply no jobs to get. The reality of this pandemic is that we don’t know when these jobs will return.”
One Pennsylvanian on the call, Elizabeth Stanton, shared her story on how she’s benefitted from the $600 benefit. Stanton, who’s been a cashier the last two years at Carnegie Mellon University before being laid off, also has a lung disease that puts her at higher risk for the virus.
She explained, “I’ve got bills to pay. So I’m stuck between my fear of getting sick and my fear of having no income. Over the past couple of months, it helped me to pay bills. My son graduated this year and he’s preparing to start college. That extra $600 helped me to help him have the supplies needed to start school.”
Senator Casey says he hopes the benefit will be extended by the end of the week at the latest.