PA CARES 21 plan would provide relief to 500K jobless PA’ians

Senate Dems proposal is to provide $350 a week to those on pandemic-related unemployment programs for six additional weeks

Last week, my colleagues in the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus and I announced the $4 billion Pennsylvania CARES 21 Plan to provide immediate relief to workers, families, small businesses and other groups hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One area of that plan want to highlight today, as stimulus negotiations in Washington, D.C. continue without a clear resolution, is our push to provide $1 billion in aid to jobless workers. More than 500,000 Pennsylvanians stand to lose Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which are set to expire on Dec. 26 if federal lawmakers do not extend the existing programs to those who have been chronically unemployed during the pandemic.

That is why we must act on a state level. My colleagues and I have proposed extending benefits of $350 per week in PEUC and PUA extensions for six weeks to help uplift those 500,000 Pennsylvanians who are unemployed and carrying the economic brunt of the pandemic. These people are suffering through no fault of their own and don’t deserve to be left without a lifeline the day after Christmas.

It is well documented that many of our people have been struggling for months, even with existing unemployment programs in place. Many workers have exhausted benefits and the deadline for the end of the programs are looming. Our proposal to extend pandemic-related unemployment benefits at $350 a week for six weeks is the kind of support we can provide to help individuals and families weather this horrific pandemic and help stimulate our economy. The state legislature must prioritize helping our people.