Unemployment insurance expires for millions of Americans as of Saturday due to the showdown over the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill.
President Trump said he won’t approve the bill unless $2,000 is given to each person and wasteful foreign aid is removed. The benefits technically expire Dec. 26. Approximately 14 million Americans will be hit by the lack of renewal for unemployment benefits unless an emergency bill is somehow passed.
Unemployment benefits for 14 million expire tomorrow. This is apocalyptic.
— Gravel Institute (@GravelInstitute) December 25, 2020
Showdown Over the Stimulus Bill
While the GOP won’t agree to upping checks to $2,000 each, the Democrats also won’t agree to cut the foreign aid in the bill. Republican Leader of the House Rep. Kevin McCarthy noted that Democrats “appear to be suffering from selective hearing.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Senate will meet on Monday to vote on the payments, but Trump has made it clear it’s not yet satisfactory to him. In addition, Trump vetoed a defense spending bill worth $740 billion on Wednesday because it blocks removal of American troops from Afghanistan and deployments in Europe and it requires the name of Confederate soldiers to be scrubbed from military bases named after them.
As the drama continues in Congress, millions of families are just trying to get through the Christmas and holiday season without going completely broke. There are record lines at food banks and every day many less people are officially counted as unemployed because they note that they are no longer looking for work.
It is clear that the unemployment and partial and low-wage employment crisis in the United States is much worse than what the mainstream media and Democrats will admit.
Working With AOC
Just as Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri and Independent democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont teamed up to try to get Americans more help, Trump is getting support for increasing the amount in the checks from AOC and the Democratic base.
There is no shame in temporarily and strategically working with them to bypass the budget hawks and establishment Republicans in his own party and the neoliberal corporate Democrats in the opposition in order to get people the basic help they need during the ongoing pandemic.
Despite what the corporate media may broadcast, there are areas in which the populist left and populist right can agree, and helping Americans more than massive corporations and unstable foreign countries is one of them.
Congress Must Act
Despite its record low approval ratings and the ongoing serious divisions in this country, Congress has to pull its boots up and act in order to save people’s lives with vital unemployment help.
As Trump wrote on Friday: “Why would politicians not want to give people $2000, rather than only $600? It wasn’t their fault, it was China. Give our people the money!”
It remains to be seen whether negotiations can come up with any compromise, but the hard truth is that Trump is not only dealing with issues from the Democrats loading up the bill with pork, but also with his own party’s establishment wing’s anti-working-family ideology.
Members of the GOP who never supported the President from the beginning are now openly obstructing him, and Senator Mitch McConnell with his wife Elaine Chao’s extensive family ties to China and the Communist Party of China is not a reliable partner to deal with the necessary economic response to COVID or the ongoing national security breaches and spying that China is orchestrating.
At this time it’s up to Trump to work with unique allies if necessary – including AOC – to try to get this bill trimmed of the unnecessary wasteful spending and boost the checks that will go out to families during this hard time.