Unemployment: Bernie Sanders Takes Aim at GOP After Benefits Lapse

The unemployment benefits given out under the CARES Act expired on Friday, and Congress was not able to agree on a plan to take its place. As a result, many lawmakers have voiced their frustrations over the fact that this lapse occurred. On Twitter, Senator Bernie Sanders expressed precisely why he is not happy about the fact that these benefits, which included a $600 per week bonus to eligible Americans, expired.

Sanders included a video along with his tweet. The video not only features accounts from Americans who received the $600 in unemployment benefits from the CARES Act, but it also included an interview that the senator gave to MSNBC in which he explained why individuals need to continue to receive that bonus. "We are looking today at a level of desperation that we have never seen in our lifetimes and perhaps not since the 1930s," he said. "What we are looking at is tens of millions of people have lost their jobs, they've lost their health insurance, people have no food in the cupboards, people by the millions are facing evictions and foreclosures. Kids are not getting the education that they need. We've got to make absolutely clear that workers in this country continue to receive hat $600. This is an unprecedented crisis."

To account for the issues stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the CARES Act provided eligible Americans with an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits. Those benefits expired on Friday, July 31. The HEALS Act, the proposal that Senate Republicans unveiled on July 27, did address this topic. But, under their plan, Americans would receive $200 per week in unemployment benefits through September, and it would then transition to benefits that would replace 70% of working wages.

In addition to Sanders, several other prominent lawmakers have voiced their criticism for this plan. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Friday that she does not believe that the Republicans' plan goes far enough to help Americans amidst one of the biggest economic crises in the nation's history. She said, "Republicans in the Senate came back with a piecemeal approach. Clearly, they and perhaps the White House do not understand the gravity of the situation. This is a freight train that is picking up steam."