Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today released the following statement urging Congress to immediately pass legislation to continue the enhanced unemployment insurance programs established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which has provided an extra $600 in monthly unemployment benefits to struggling Nevadans, expires today. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought up a sham procedural vote that did nothing to help Nevadans and had no real funding behind it.
“Nevada has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and thousands of Nevadans have relied on the increased unemployment benefits to pay their rent, keep food on the table and care for their children. And yet, the only real vote Senator McConnell has allowed on this issue was a sham procedural vote on a bill that offered no real aid for Nevada families. No one wants to be out of work, yet countless Nevadans honored their commitment to the health and safety of their communities by staying home to stop the spread. Now, Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans have turned their backs on Nevadans by failing to act before the expiration of this assistance and stripping hardworking families of their extra $600 in benefits.
“I’m proud of the steps Nevada businesses have taken to protect employees and re-open safely, but for many workers in the live-entertainment, outdoor recreation, hospitality and travel industries, the situation is dire. Coronavirus cases are spiking across the country, small businesses are closing and major companies and school districts are crafting long-term plans to safely deal with the impacts of this virus. I’m calling on Senate Republicans to stop playing around with sham procedural votes and act now to pass the American Workforce Rescue Act to reauthorize these $600 payments in time for next month’s bills as we work to negotiate for bipartisan, long-term relief legislation. We owe it to families in Nevada, and across this country, to extend this lifeline.”
This week, Senator Cortez Masto cosponsored the American Workforce Rescue Act to enhance unemployment insurance programs established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act based on states’ unemployment levels.
The American Workforce Rescue Act would extend the $600-per-week increase in unemployment benefits under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program beyond July 31, 2020 until a state’s three-month average total unemployment rate falls below 11%. Then, the compensation amount will begin to phase out, reducing by $100 for every 1% decrease in the state’s unemployment rate, until unemployment falls below 6%. Additionally, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program in the CARES Act would be extended until March 27, 2021. The 13 weeks of extended benefits will stay in place if the state’s unemployment rate exceeds 5.5%, with the number of weeks of benefits available increasing by 13 for each additional percentage point the unemployment rate increases for up to a maximum of 52 weeks.