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Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of her Washington colleagues to return to Capitol Hill, as unemployment levels have hit what she called a “staggering” number during the coronavirus outbreak.
As businesses have been forced to shutter during the pandemic, a stunning 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, after 3.3 million filed the week before that.
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“These unemployment numbers are staggering. The American people are hurting,” Harris tweeted Thursday morning. “Leaders in Washington, D.C. must immediately take up additional emergency measures to help families and small businesses.”
The former Democratic presidential hopeful went on to say McConnell should bring back senators to deal with the situation.
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“Mitch McConnell must call the Senate back into session,” she said. “We have work to do. Now.”
Senators had previously delayed a scheduled recess in March to work on their “Phase 3” coronavirus response stimulus legislation, a $2 trillion package that included increased unemployment benefits and checks sent directly to American individuals and families. But lawmakers already are talking about a possible “Phase 4” piece of legislation to provide further help.
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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is now calling on Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia to make sure that people can quickly collect their unemployment benefits.
“You must move heaven and earth to make sure that Americans are able to receive their unemployment benefits ASAP,” Schumer said.
The White House issued a statement of encouragement Thursday, pointing to the new stimulus package as a measure that will help workers during this difficult period and predicting a stronger economic future.
“Last week, President Trump quickly signed historic legislation that helps American workers confront and respond to the many economic challenges ahead, such as increased unemployment claims,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said. “His signature ensures access to incentives for businesses to retain workers and continue paying them, as well as enhanced unemployment benefits. Because of the president’s leadership, we will emerge from this challenge stronger and with a prosperous and growing economy.”
Fox Business Network’s Blake Burman contributed to this report.