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Senate must act now on unemployment help

Unemployment insurance is a vital lifeline for families and stimulus for the economy that will be critical to our nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

We need Congress to ensure this safety net will be available to all who need it until our economy has sufficiently recovered. In particular, the U.S. Senate must take immediate action and continue the $600 per week boost past the arbitrary July 31 deadline and tie its phase-out to economic indicators. Failing to do so would mean more than 25 million workers will lose the $600 federal unemployment supplement, to the tune of more than $15 billion per week. That is money our families and economy needs to survive!

The $600 per week is one critical element of the House-passed HEROES Act — legislation that is a crucial starting point for the next emergency policy package, which our families and economy need to get through this pandemic.

Without the extra $600, benefits will revert to the standard state amount, which averaged $378 per week in March. That’s a sudden income reduction of 60%.

When one out of five children are not getting enough to eat, we have a giant problem in the richest country in the world.

Without a strong unemployment insurance system, our families will continue to suffer and our economy will be slow to recover. We need our senators to act now!

MARY O’NEILL,

Presque Isle

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