The extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits expires at the end of July—and as June begins, many workers haven’t even started getting it yet. With more than one in five workers on unemployment or waiting for approval, Heidi Shierholz writes, Congress needs to do more. It should start with extending the extra $600, help states process unemployment claims more efficiently, and send the funding to state and local governments that they need to prevent a “prolonged depression.”
But unfortunately, Mike Konczal points out, when it comes to that extra $600 a week, “Republicans understand the stakes involved, even if many liberals do not. Increasing unemployment insurance not only moves money to the lowest-wage workers, who need it the most, but it also empowers employees and builds the case for social insurance.” That’s one more reason Republicans are pushing so hard to reopen before it’s safe—to push workers off unemployment insurance.