CHICAGO — US Senator Dick Durbin is pushing to help small businesses and the unemployed with another COVID-19 relief package.
Millions of Americans are set to lose their unemployment benefits near the end of this month if lawmakers and the Trump administration don’t reach a deal.
Hopes continue that Democratic and Republican leadership will reach a compromise, but remaining differences are standing in the way of an agreement.
Durbin, who helped to produce a bi-partisan proposal for pandemic relief, spoke out via video conference from Springfield on Friday.
Durbin is painting a bleak picture if Congress doesn’t act, and Democrats are urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote.
A bi-partisan group of legislators are proposing a $908 billion pandemic relief package, but GOP legislative leaders are making it clear they won’t support the new measure.
The stalled negotiations come as the labor department releases alarming numbers. with the latest jobless claims at 712,000.
Economists warning that we could be heading towards catastrophe with jobless benefits and protections against evictions, and other measures, about to expire after Christmas.
Durbin, who helped craft the bi-partisan $908 billion proposal, says the emergency legislation gets hospitals, doctors and nurses the support they so desperately need. This as our medical community gets stretched to its very limits, with the upcoming distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations.
Durbin says that still won’t be enough to get the job done when it comes to vaccines. The senator says they’ll eventually need to go to President-elect Joe Biden, once he’s sworn into office, to help already financially-strapped cities.
Biden is expected to address the nation Friday afternoon on the economic picture in 2021.