Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has voiced her desire for an extension of enhanced federal unemployment insurance out through 2022.
In efforts made to try and provide a small bit of economic relief to the American people during COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown-provoked recession, members of Congress agreed to fund quite a few new federal unemployment programs. Through these programs, millions of people have gotten a weekly $300 check which is in addition to their state unemployment handouts.
While the federal payments were officially expired on Labor Day, the bill put forth by Ocasio-Cortez would seek to lengthen the time window for unemployed Americans’ ability to get aid out to the first of February of 2022, along with retroactively handing out payments for the weeks since the 6th of September.
“I’ve been very disappointed on both sides of the aisle that we’ve just simply allowed pandemic unemployment assistance to completely lapse when we are clearly not fully recovered from the cost effects of the pandemic,” stated Ocasio-Cortez as part of a virtual town hall. “I simply could not allow this to happen without at least trying.”
Counterintuitive to Ocasio-Cortez’s progressive concerns, the United States is currently seeing the reality that it has more jobs available than the number of people unemployed. As reported by a set of data released from the Department of Labor, the current number of jobs available in the United States jumped up to just over 10 million as of late June, which is the highest that number has ever been seen by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the other hand, there are only currently 8.7 million people actively looking for jobs.
a few studies have indicated that a large portion of Americans who benefitted from COVID-era unemployment aid declined job offers in order to continue getting the increased handouts.
One such poll put out by Morning Consult managed to find out that 13%, or one in eight, had stated that they had turned down a job offer while unemployed due to the fact that they “receive enough money from unemployment insurance without having to work.” Because 14.1 million people were able to receive these benefits at the time the survey was taken, Morning Consult discovered that roughly 1.8 million Americans declined a potential job offer because of the increased COVID payouts.
Ocasio-Cortez was recently the target of ridicule for her wearing of a designer outfit sporting the message “Tax The Rich” to the Met Gala, at which a single ticket can carry a price tag of almost $30,000.
In the wake of the event, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) criticized the young lawmaker during an interview on Fox News, noting that she could have used campaign funds in order to pay for the event which she states would be a breach of ethics.
“I’m not quite sure as a member of Congress how you legally can go there,” stated McCarthy to Fox News. “You can’t accept a ticket so I’m not sure how that works.”
“She’s the leader of the Democratic Party,” they added. “And think about it. She doesn’t call herself a Democrat. She calls herself a socialist Democrat.”