Tuesday, May 26, 2020. New York City – Today, I received this email from Bernie Sanders: “$600 per week, plus regular pay:“
“I am writing to let you know that many of my Republican colleagues in the Senate are very, very upset. In fact, some of them are even having trouble sleeping.
No. They’re not particularly worried that 38 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in recent months. No. They’re certainly not worried that tens of millions of people are facing hunger, eviction notices and the possibility of losing their homes in the midst of the economic collapse.
No. That’s not what is bothering them. What troubles them deeply, to the very core of their greedy souls, is that workers who normally earn starvation wages of $9 or $10 an hour are now, in the midst of this crisis, actually receiving an income they can live on. That’s because Congress, appropriately, expanded unemployment benefits by an additional $600 a week.
Republicans, correctly, see these expanded unemployment benefits as an unprecedented threat to an economy which thrives on low-wage labor — where half of our workers live paycheck to paycheck. Think about it. If workers get used to a decent income, how can employers bring them back to jobs that keep them living in poverty?
Here is the truth:
The issue is not whether people are receiving more income through their unemployment benefits. The problem is that in America today millions of people make starvation wages. It is past time to create a living wage in this country.
The expanded unemployment benefit passed under the previous bill is set to expire in July. That is why, right now, it is imperative that we come together to demand that the next emergency relief package includes this important benefit.
Can you add your name?
The emergency relief package that was passed a couple months ago provided the largest expansion of unemployment benefits in the history of this country. That was the right thing to do because that is what this unprecedented crisis calls for.
That bill, rightly so, said that in the middle of this terrible economic crisis, you will be able to receive unemployment compensation if you are a gig worker, an independent contractor, or a server — people who were previously not eligible for unemployment benefits. Plus the bill added another $600 per week on top of the benefits a person would receive under their state unemployment plan.
So that’s what’s got my Republican colleagues rather upset. They had no problem a couple years ago giving $1 trillion in tax breaks for billionaires and large profitable corporations. But when it comes to working class people in the midst of a horrific crisis, maybe having enough money to pay the bills and feed their families, Republicans want to tell those people they must continue struggling to get by.
How cruel is that? What kind of values system is that?
Before the Senate passes the next relief bill, please make your voice heard on this important issue:
There are many things that must be done to address the economic and health crises created by the pandemic. But one thing we must not do is punish low-income workers who may get a few dollars more through their unemployment benefits than they otherwise might have received.
Thank you for adding your name today.
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