Lee, Titus, Horsford, Crow Urge Senate Not to Slash Unemployment Income for 30 Million American Workers

August 6, 2020
Press Release
Senate plan would cut unemployment income by hundreds of dollars a week. 352,535 Nevadans rely on unemployment income during the pandemic.

Las Vegas, Nev. - U.S. Reps. Susie Lee (Nev.-03), Dina Titus (Nev.-01), Steven Horsford (Nev.-04), and Jason Crow (Colo.-06) held a call with regional reporters today urging the Senate not to slash the emergency unemployment income 30 million American workers, including 352,535 Nevadans, are relying on during the pandemic.

Two months ago, the House passed legislation known as the Heroes Act to extend the full $600 weekly emergency unemployment payments and other critical lifelines for workers and families amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate released a plan to slash emergency unemployment income for families and workers by hundreds of dollars a week during the crisis.

“It's shameful that Americans are still waiting for the government to get this pandemic under control when the House of Representatives passed key solutions nearly three months ago,” said Rep. Lee. “Emergency unemployment benefits expired nearly a week ago, leaving millions of Americans unsure if they can pay the bills this month. On top of that, the school year is right around the corner, and our students and teachers need to be certain that they’ll have the resources they need on day one. The Heroes Act—passed over 11 weeks ago—helps solve these problems. Along with $8.7 billion in direct assistance for Nevada to make up for state budget cuts, the Heroes Act includes emergency education relief to help schools safely reopen, extended unemployment benefits, support for COVID-19 testing and contract tracing services, strengthening of state Medicare and Medicaid assistance, and more. To make it through this pandemic, we need to support our states and our working families. The Senate needs to pass the Heroes Act, now.”

“The House passed the Heroes Act back in May and it’s shameful that it’s taken this long for the Senate to start negotiating,” said Rep. Titus. “Senator McConnell has been twiddling his thumbs while families in Las Vegas and across the country are struggling to put food on the table. President Trump and Senator McConnell don’t understand the gravity of this crisis.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic took a devastating blow to Nevada’s economy,” said Rep. Horsford. “With a record-high unemployment rate reaching 30 percent and a budget shortfall of $1.2 billion, our state needs real and immediate support. That’s why I voted to pass legislation that extends enhanced unemployment benefits that have kept households and the economy afloat during this pandemic. It is unconscionable that Senate Republicans would slash unemployment income while families are still struggling to pay bills and put food on the table. It’s time they step up and extend enhanced unemployment insurance compensation to prevent further suffering of Americans across the country.”

“The House voted over 80 days ago to pass the Heroes Act,” said Rep. Crow. “We can’t afford further delay. Coloradans are losing critical unemployment insurance benefits, we’re on the verge of a major housing crisis, and businesses need another round of PPP loans to stay afloat. The Senate needs to pass the Heroes Act now.”

On top of slashing unemployment income, the Senate Republican plan fails workers and families because it:

  • Gives wealthy corporations a business meal tax deduction, while refusing to expand SNAP for families struggling to keep food on the table; 
  • Fails to extend the eviction moratorium, while refusing to provide rental or mortgage assistance to families on the brink of eviction; 
  • Provides no state and local funding to pay our heroes: our health workers; first responders; teachers; food, transit, and sanitation workers; and other frontline heroes risking their lives to save lives and keep the economy running, who risk losing their jobs—and will be forced onto unemployment insurance. 
  • Hands liability immunity to employers who do not protect workers’ health and safety, while offering no OSHA protections to ensure workers can trust in safe workplaces; 
  • Tries to bully schools to reopen without the resources to reopen safely, tying urgently-needed funding to reopening instead of safety and failing to provide adequate resources—while refusing to expand broadband to help kids who need it for school or Americans who telework or have telehealth appointments; 
  • Offers no help for victims of domestic violence, despite cases skyrocketing during the lockdown; 
  • Provides zero election funding or Post Office assistance, while spending $2 billion on President Trump’s priority to renovate the FBI headquarters and prevent competition for Trump Hotel and handing a $30 billion slush fund to defense contractors; 
  • Refuses to have a strategic and well-funded, science-based testing plan and also abandons communities of color, with no assistance for the Black and other minority communities who are being disproportionately devastated by COVID-19.

Instead, the House plan, known as the Heroes Act will extend full emergency unemployment insurance, protect the paychecks of frontline workers, provide direct payments of up to $6,000 for families who are struggling, support small businesses, and invest in the testing needed to reopen our economy safely.

A summary of the House plan, the Heroes Act, is available HERE.