The fate of millions of struggling Americans who are out of work remains in limbo after some Democrat and Republican leaders spent the weekend trying to reach an agreement on the next stimulus deal. Despite the extra time spent negotiating, political leaders on both sides of the aisle say they have a long way to go.
“We made good progress, [but] there are lots of things we are still divided on,” Senator Charles Schumer said at a press conference Sunday.
Schumer said their are four essential points that Democrats want in the bill: a renewal of the $600 pandemic unemployment benefits, an extension for renters and home owners insurance protections, money for state and local governments, as well as funding to help schools open safety.
The federal pandemic checks expired Friday, and nearly 33.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment, according to the Labor Department.
“People are struggling out there,” said New Yorker Dylan Rawlings. “It helps a lot of people to get through the crisis.”
“They should be extended. I don’t think they should be extended to the full $600. I think that is a little too generous,” added local Joe Lopresco. “I think there has to be more of an incentive for people to go back to work.”
While congress still has not reached an agreement on the federal pandemic checks, New York State is offering additional unemployment benefits for up to 20 weeks, but that money is based on a person’s former salary, so low-wage earners will see a drastic decrease in aid.
“It’s a drop in the bucket compared to what other nations are giving to people,” said Paul Jodelson. “Six hundred dollars is nothing compared to that.”
Senator Schumer emphasized that this is the most serious health and economic crisis the country has seen in decades.
Republicans and Democrats will continue their negotiations in the coming days.