Americans are hoping to see a second coronavirus relief stimulus check soon, but many others are not sure how they will get along after Congress does not appear to be extending the unemployment package created by the CARES Act. Citizens in California could be in a better situation, however, as the state is reportedly considering supplementing the $600 weekly benefit itself. According to The Hill, Democrat leaders in California have been open about supporting new state-based benefits, due to the expiring $600 federal benefit that ends on July 31.
The outlet notes that, without the extension, California's weekly unemployment payment average will fall to just under $340. The money used to increase the state unemployment payments would be borrowed from a federal fund, and then paid back later by way of employer taxes. Democrat leaders have argued that by not intervening in the unemployment issue, Californians could be facing unprecedented problems with eviction and homelessness. "Millions of Californians are suffering in this economic downturn, and Republicans in Washington, D.C., don’t seem to care," Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D) said in a statement. Notably, the state's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, has not said if he plans to support the unemployment measure or not. "I would be remiss to comment until I have a chance to review the details," Newsom said. "We have to include a framework of bringing people along as we reopen our economy."
With the additional $600/week in federal unemployment benefits ending, I’m leading a working group of lawmakers that wants to continue some supplement for Californians. The last thing we need is thousands evicted onto the streets during #COVID19. https://t.co/c6W5pZqVsu— Phil Ting (@PhilTing) July 29, 2020
Previously, Michele Evermore — senior policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project — commented on the federal unemployment benefits situation, and stated that in many parts of America the state-provided benefits are simply not enough to sustain citizens who've found themselves out of work, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "These benefits are wholly insufficient," she said, per CNBC. "Losing the $600 will mean people will put themselves in physical jeopardy by showing up to unsafe jobs to keep themselves afloat." Evermore added, "For the people who can't find jobs, they're going to lose their homes." She then said, "They're not going to be able to afford food, and they're going to take on debt that will stay with them for years."