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Advocacy & Policy Update - August 10, 2020



Coronavirus Bill Stimulus On Thursday, August 6, Senators left D.C. with no deal in place for a final coronavirus relief package. The White House and party leaders are now tasked with handling negotiations on their own. The Senate will technically stay in session this week, but lawmakers from both chambers will be in their districts, waiting for word from leadership on whether a deal has been reached. Negotiations have been underway for two weeks and there is not much to show in terms of progress.

A major point of contention is the $600 enhanced weekly unemployment payment, which expired on July 31. Democrats want it extended to 2021, but Republicans feel it provides a disincentive to work. The White House offered supplemental federal unemployment benefits of $400 a week until December, but Democrats rejected that offer. Another sticking point is how much aid to provide to state and local governments - with Democrats pushing for nearly $1 trillion allocated in the HEROES Act, which the House passed in May, and Republicans saying states haven’t used up the money provided in the March relief package.

On Saturday, August 8, President Trump signed several executive orders and memorandums on a payroll tax cut, extending enhanced unemployment payments, an eviction moratorium and student loan repayment options. The memorandum that extends enhanced unemployment benefits at $400 a week the federal government is requiring states to contribute 25% ($100) of that $400 additional benefit. The state must also agree to enter into this financial agreement with the federal government for any unemployed person living there to get any of the additional benefits.

Click here to access the executive orders and memorandums.

Unemployment Rate

On Thursday, August 6, the Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the July jobs report, which shows the U.S. added 1.76 million jobs last month and the unemployment rate ticked down to 10.2% from 11.1% in June. Even though more workers were added to payrolls in July, the Department of Labor’s survey of employers and information it collects from state labor departments may not have recorded a new round of layoffs that occurred at the end of the month. The job growth rate has significantly slowed, and without fiscal assistance, could get worse.

Among the more than 30 million unemployed due to the pandemic, the number of workers without jobs to go back to is rising and this trend is a major threat to economic recovery and could lead to long-term unemployment. So far, permanent losses have only made up a fraction of job losses, but that number is steadily increasing as companies move from temporary layoffs to permanent cuts.

Click here to read the full report.

Click here to read the entire August 10 weekly legislative update.

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