Letter to the Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Hon. Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader - Rep. Susie Lee, Colleagues Call on House Leadership to Pass Extension of Emergency Unemployment Benefits


By: Denny Heck, Adam Smith, Kim Schrier, Derek Kilmer, Rick Larsen, Suzan DelBene, Peter Welch, Stacey Plaskett, Gerry Connolly, Jennifer Wexton, Don Beyer, Jr., Donald McEachin, Marc Veasey, Colin Allred, Sylvia Garcia, Joaquin Castro, Sheila Jackson Lee, Veronica Escobar, Vicente Gonzalez, Steve Cohen, Jim Langevin, Matt Cartwright, Chrissy Houlahan, Mary Scanlon, Madeleine Dean, Dwight Evans, Brendan Boyle, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Tim Ryan, Marcy Kaptur, Joyce Beatty, Joe Morelle, Paul Tonko, José Serrano, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Adriano Espaillat, Max Rose, Nydia Velázquez, Gregory Meeks, Kathleen Rice, Deb Haaland, Mikie Sherrill, Don Payne, Jr., Donald Norcross, Annie Kuster, David Price, Emanuel Cleaver II, Lacy Clay, Jr., Betty McCollum, Angie Craig, Brenda Lawrence, Andy Levin, Dan Kildee, David Trone, Anthony Brown, Dutch Ruppersberger, Bill Keating, Seth Moulton, Lori Trahan, John Yarmuth, Sharice Davids, André Carson, Bill Foster, Brad Schneider, Mike Quigley, Bobby Rush, Cindy Axne, Ed Case, Sanford Bishop, Jr., Donna Shalala, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Frederica Wilson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Sr., Charlie Crist, Jr., Val Demings, Darren Soto, Al Lawson, Jr., Lisa Blunt Rochester, Eleanor Norton, Jim Himes, Rosa DeLauro, Ed Perlmutter, Jason Crow, Joe Neguse, Diana DeGette, Susan Davis, Scott Peters, Juan Vargas, Mike Levin, Harley Rouda, Alan Lowenthal, Lou Correa, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Norma Torres, Grace Napolitano, Pete Aguilar, Tony Cárdenas, Adam Schiff, Judy Chu, Julia Brownley, Salud Carbajal, T.J. Cox, Jimmy Panetta, Zoe Lofgren, Ro Khanna, Jim Costa, Jerry McNerney, Ami Bera, Jared Huffman, Ruben Gallego, Ann Kirkpatrick, Terri Sewell, Susie Lee
Date: Aug. 19, 2020
Location: Las Vegas, NV

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer:

Thank you for taking decisive steps to save the U.S. Postal Service by scheduling a vote on legislation this weekend. The Postal Service provides an essential service to every American and is a lifeline to many, including our seniors and our veterans. While rescuing the Postal Service is crucial, it is equally important that we provide a lifeline to the 30 million Americans who are relying on unemployment insurance. Therefore, we ask, as members return to Washington to address the crisis at the USPS, that the House consider legislation like the Worker Relief and Security Act (Beyer/Kilmer).

The Worker Relief and Security Act would extend unemployment benefits to those who need it and ensure benefits last for the duration of the recession by tying continued enhanced unemployment insurance to the health crisis and economic indicators. It has been 18 days since the weekly $600 enhanced unemployment benefits expired, leaving 30 million Americans in a lurch. We owe it to people waiting to get back to work across the country not only to extend unemployment benefits to help them pay their bills, but to tie these benefits to economic conditions so workers are not held hostage by another cliff like this one.

Nearly 30 million Americans, or one in five workers, are currently relying on unemployment benefits to keep a roof over their head, put food on the table, and keep their kids healthy. The enhanced unemployment compensation of $600 per week provided families support to meet their needs, replaced lost earnings, stabilized household spending, and in turn, stimulated the broader economy.

Since the $600 supplement has expired, countless constituents have reached out to our offices, expressing heartbreaking stories, in which they must choose between paying for groceries or their car payment. Some can make it through the next few months but are worried about what will happen once savings run out. Our economic footing is fragile.

As you know, during the last recession, Congress extended emergency unemployment benefits 13 times. This time, we seem headed for an even more perilous path as Republicans have already blown past the deadline to extend the enhanced unemployment compensation with reckless abandon, satisfied by the President's woefully inadequate Executive Order.

The Worker Relief and Security Act would automatically continue, expand, and adjust enhanced unemployment insurance programs based on public health and economic triggers through the duration of the crisis without the need for further congressional action. Specifically, the bill would extend the $600 weekly federal pandemic unemployment compensation (FPUC) for the duration of the national COVID-19 health emergency, and then continue and adjust the weekly federal unemployment compensation amount and number of available unemployment benefit weeks dependent on the state total unemployment rate.

As Democrats, we know how important it is to get aid to the people who need it most. While there are various proposals to extend unemployment benefits, the only way to provide financial relief to millions of Americans without being subject to political hurdles, is to enact automatic stabilizers for unemployment benefits. By passing legislation that ties unemployment benefits to economic triggers, we can ensure that aid is restored to those who need it and prevent future lapses as long as the economy tells us aid is needed.

We appreciate your diligence and steadfast commitment to American workers and hope you will move forward this legislation for consideration.