It’s been a while since my last furlough update, but there were more important things to address – and yes, we will continue to talk about systemic racism, Black Lives Matter, defunding the police and the justice that so many families deserve. So why have a furlough Friday update? Because like all things mentioned previously, it relates to the current state of our country, and now more than ever, we need awareness and involvement.
Do you know what’s ending in July? No, it’s not COVID-19. It’s the CARES Act and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – you know, the extra $600 weekly unemployment benefit. As of today, there’s no certainty that these benefits will be extended as the HEROES Act is stalled in the Senate.
Republican opposition to the second round of relief funds is expected to have some detrimental effects on the economy as nearly 21 million people lose the ability to cover essential expenses. This is especially true for low-income families, people of color, young adults, and renters.
The HEROES Act would extend unemployment, student loan, and housing benefits. It would also extend benefits to immigrants with TIN numbers and hazard pay for essential workers. One of the arguments to not approve these benefits is the decreasing unemployment numbers (for the record, unemployment has only decreased by about 1.4% according to the latest Congressional Budget Office Report). There is also concern that people will not actively return to work as many households are making more income through unemployment than through their regular job.
Jobs will not be available overnight just because these benefits cease to exist. And as the hospitality industry continues to struggle, I have been notified that my furlough will be extended until October 2020. I am grateful that my situation is better than most, but I know we are about to witness another wave of changes as Congress negotiates if and when our government will provide additional aid for its constituents.
Do you think the HEROES Act should be approved? Maybe a modified version of it? Why or why not? Will you be impacted by the ending of the federal unemployment benefits?