Democratic lawmakers are calling for more action on unemployment benefits amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced on Thursday the latest unemployment statistics which revealed weekly claims about doubled last week from the week prior.
Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims— US Labor Department (@USDOL) April 2, 2020
Initial claims were 6,648,000 for the week ending 3/28 (+3,341,000).
Insured unemployment was 3,029,000 for the week ending 3/21 (+1,245,000).https://t.co/ys7Eg5LKAW
Following the release of the latest statistics, Democratic lawmakers have taken to Twitter with their reaction to the economic downturn.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) took aim at Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia urging him to do whatever needs to be done to quickly disburse payments to American workers affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
“Secretary of Labor [Eugene Scalia],” Schumer stated. “You must move heaven and earth to make sure that Americans are able to receive their unemployment benefits ASAP.”
To Secretary of Labor @SecGeneScalia:— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 2, 2020
You must move heaven and earth to make sure that Americans are able to receive their unemployment benefits ASAP.
Sen. Kamala Harris also expressed concern about the “staggering” numbers. Like Schumer, Harris noted how unemployment is impacting the lives of Americans everywhere.
“These unemployment numbers are staggering. The American people are hurting,” she tweeted. “Leaders in Washington, D.C. must immediately take up additional emergency measures to help families and small businesses.”
Harris also called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), saying he “must call the Senate back into session” because there is work to do “now.”
These unemployment numbers are staggering. The American people are hurting. Leaders in Washington, D.C. must immediately take up additional emergency measures to help families and small businesses.— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) April 2, 2020
Mitch McConnell must call the Senate back into session. We have work to do. Now. https://t.co/rV5T6u0UlG
The Public Citizen advocacy group also took to Twitter, noting the grim outcome many American workers could face amid the pandemic.
The group tweeted, “6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. That shatters the record of 3.3 million… which was set the previous week.
The tweet continued, “50% of Americans get their health insurance through work. 50 percent. Millions will lose their health insurance in the middle of a pandemic.”
6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week.— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) April 2, 2020
That shatters the record of 3.3 million…which was set the previous week.
50% of Americans get their health insurance through work.
Millions will lose their health insurance in the middle of a pandemic.
The latest unemployment statistics come two days after McConnell opted to put a hold on discussions about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) plan to proceed with the next economic stimulus package.
According to McConnell, the government needs to weigh the effect of the current bill and focus on expediting payments to individual workers and small businesses.
“First, we need to see what the effect of the current bill is,” McConnell said. “The Treasury, of course, is wrestling with all this complicated effort to speed checks to individuals and small businesses to get us through this period until the health care pandemic begins to subside.”
The House and Senate are tentatively expected to return to Washington, D.C., on April 20.