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Congressman Kildee Hosts Listening Session with Jobless Americans as Republicans Let Crucial Benefit Expire for 25+ Million People

July 31, 2020
Press Release
Americans Express Frustration as Benefits Are Cut Off Today

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and Member of the Ways and Means Committee, today hosted a listening session to hear directly from Americans who have now lost the federal $600 unemployment benefit because Senate Republicans and President Trump have failed to do their job.

During the Ways and Means listening session, Congressman Kildee shared stories of mid-Michigan residents who, through no fault of their own, lost their jobs due to the pandemic and have relied on these federal benefits to survive.

Two months ago, House Democrats passed The Heroes Actwhich would extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits through January 2021. Senate Republicans have failed to put this or any other legislation up for a vote, and this week proposed cutting federal unemployment benefits to $200 a week.

Congressman Kildee said, “Cathi, from my hometown of Flint, wrote, ‘I am writing to give you some perspective as you work on the new stimulus package. We just received our last $600 unemployment benefit. My husband is a self-employed musician who works out of Detroit. Before the pandemic, he was working making around $2,000 per month. He worked small jobs to fill in the gaps during the week. Since all bars closed and you can’t gather in large groups, all his jobs for this year are cancelled or rebooked to next year. The extra unemployment was a godsend.’”

“Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans simply haven’t shown up for work to do their job. They want to have a debate about this, but they haven’t done the work that the United States Senate is tasked with. I plead with Republicans in the Senate and the House, you have constituents just like the people that we have heard from today. We implore the Senate to get a clue and listen to your constituents,” Congressman Kildee continued.

This listening session continues Congressman Kildee advocacy on extending federal unemployment benefits. The Congressman previously introduced the Strengthening Unemployment Insurance for Coronavirus Impacted Workers and Students Act to extend UI benefits, and successfully pushed to include these provisions in The Heroes Act, which has still not been taken up for a vote by the Senate after it passed the House earlier this year. Congressman Kildee and Congressman Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Chairman of the Ways and Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee, sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump, urging his administration to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits past July.