This week (written Sept. 11), as we are supposed to be honoring Labor Day and supporting the people who make this country work, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has rolled out his latest plan, and just like the last one, it actually cuts Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. This time it cuts benefits by $300 every week, while giving legal immunity to corporations that rollback workplace safety protections.
Leader McConnell and President Trump already wasted an entire month, going on summer vacation while taking away the additional $600 per week in UI that had been keeping 680,000 Ohioans afloat.
For a whole lot of people, that $600 was the difference between being able to pay the bills, or having to skip meals, drain their savings, or turn to a payday lender.
Washington Republicans actually have the audacity to suggest that helping people through a national crisis is going to stop people from working and result in a bunch of lazy workers.
That’s an insult to the people who make this country work.
It’s an insult to the Ohio workers who are desperate to get back on the job, if they can do it safely. The president’s failure to get this pandemic under control is keeping hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who want to go to work sitting on the sidelines of our economy.
If people can’t go to work, they can’t pay their rent or mortgage, can’t pay their car payment or credit card bills. Families will continue to suffer and the bottom will fall out of our state’s economy.
Schools districts have been forced to make impossible decisions—reopen and put students and teachers at risk, or continue to teach remotely, putting an unbearable load on working parents and widening the achievement gap. State and local governments are trying to step in and help, but their tax revenues are down because taxpayers have lost their jobs and businesses have had to shut their doors or operate with fewer customers.
And that’s only going to mean more layoffs of good middle-class jobs, extending the cycle of misery. We must extend the full $600 Unemployment Insurance Benefits, and pass a real, comprehensive relief package that supports Ohio families and communities.
Democrat Sherrod Brown represents Ohio in the U.S. Senate.