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McConnell sends Senate home without passing virus relief for Americans — again

More than 740,000 Americans applied for jobless benefits last week.

By Emily Singer - November 19, 2020
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Mitch McConnell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent the Senate home on Wednesday for the Thanksgiving holiday without passing aid for the millions of Americans who remain jobless during the coronavirus pandemic and with no plan on the horizon to deliver relief to those struggling workers.

The Senate recessed one day before the Department of Labor announced that weekly jobless claims had risen for the first time in 5 weeks, to 742,000.

The rise in jobless claims were more than economists expected.

And they come as cases of the coronavirus continue to spike, with the virus spreading uncontrolled across almost the entirety of the country.

If McConnell refuses to act on coronavirus aid, 12 million Americans stand to lose their jobless benefits altogether after Christmas, the Washington Post reported, as supplemental Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for self-employed workers and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation for people who have run out of ordinary unemployment benefits expire on Dec. 26.

McConnell let an additional $600 per week unemployment insurance benefit for laid-off workers expire this summer.

Refusing to extend the expiring benefits could further hurt the already stalling economic recovery.

Long lines are being seen at food pantries ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, with one food bank in Dallas reporting giving away more food than ever before on Saturday.

Meanwhile, rather than focus on coronavirus aid, McConnell is busy confirming more federal judges for Donald Trump, including Kathryn Mizelle, yet another nominee deemed “not qualified” by the American Bar Association.

McConnell is also working to install other Trump nominees that would hamper President-elect Joe Biden’s agenda, such as Judy Shelton, a nominee to the board of the Federal Reserve, whose views on economic policy, notably on returning the United States to the gold standard, are considered unorthodox and changeable. The Senate blocked Shelton’s nomination this week, but McConnell could bring it up again in the future.

Many Republican lawmakers, including McConnell, have refused to acknowledge that Biden is the president-elect.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives has continued to pass coronavirus relief bills that McConnell refuses to let the Senate take up, among the hundreds of other such bills the self-styled “Grim Reaper” of the Senate has consigned to his legislative graveyard.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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