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With the US unemployment rate unexpectedly dropping to 13.3 percent, from 14.7 percent, “now is the worst possible moment to take our foot off the gas,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi advised, calling for swift Senate approval and passage into law for the HEROES Act which the House approved last month.
The nation suddenly experienced a surge in those Americans going back to work last month in the midst of the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May, as many states and counties began to reopen with the slowing of coronavirus cases nationwide.
Some 30 million workers remain jobless, however, still the highest level of joblessness since the Great Depression nearly a century ago.
In reaction to the news, Pelosi is looking to push the HEROES Act into law.
“The May jobs report shows that decisive action by Congress to support small businesses and workers can make a strong difference in our economy,” the California Democrat said. “But with more than 100,000 Americans tragically dead, 21 million still out of work and state and local budgets collapsing, now is the worst possible moment to take our foot off the gas.
“The coronavirus continues to spread without the testing and tracing to contain it,” Pelosi added. “Nearly 600,000 critical government employees have lost their jobs in the last month and hundreds of thousands more frontline workers are at risk of being laid off, including teachers, first responders and hospital, nursing care, sanitation, transit, food, postal and other essential workers. Families are struggling to feed their children and pay their bills – as the expiration date of the new lifelines delivered in previous coronavirus bills rapidly approaches.
“The GOP Senate must pass the Heroes Act, or else this fragile progress will collapse, and the tens of millions of Americans still desperate for help will fall deeper into despair,” she said. “The president must join us to support real action to protect lives and livelihoods, rather than hide behind these jobs numbers and pretend that the job is done.”
Democrats intend the HEROES Act to be the fifth relief package to respond to the health and economic challenges presented by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The $3 trillion legislation–which Trump and McConnell have declared as dead-on-arrival–would provide such relief as: $500 billion in direct assistance to state governments, a $200 billion “Heroes’ Fund” to ensure that essential workers receive hazard pay, would extend a $600-per-week boost in unemployment insurance established under the previous CARES Act until January 2021 to help millions of US workers who have lost jobs during the pandemic, and more.
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