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As I See It

Time running out to extend extra unemployment benefits



It has been for many their only lifeline. An extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits is set to expire at the end of this month. That threatens to harm the ability of millions of people to meet rent and pay their bills, potentially further damaging the economy. When Congress approved the extra unemployment benefits, they agreed to provide four months worth of extra benefits, with the assumption that by late July, the pandemic would have subsided and the economy would be on the way to recovery. As we know all too well, neither of those things have happened, but Congress has yet to agree to extend the benefits further. The House of Representatives has passed legislation to extend the benefits to the end of January, but the Senate has yet to act. But time is running out. Negotiations are to finally resume this week, but a deal will require compromise, something in short supply in Washington, even amid a pandemic. Even if Congress acts quickly, there could still be a gap of two weeks or more for those receiving the extra $600 per week. It could take even longer for checks to go out if significant changes are made in how benefits are calculated. That will make it harder for those dependent on the money to even buy food. Congress needs to roll up its sleeves and act quickly to help our most vulnerable citizens, and prevent doing further damage to the U.S. economy.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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