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As NC Jobless Claims Soar, Tillis & Burr Must Extend Expanded Unemployment Insurance Benefits

As NC Jobless Claims Continue to Soar, Tillis and Burr Must Extend Expanded Unemployment Insurance Before They Expire Next Month


Loss of Jobs Still Hurting Black Community Particularly Hard


Raleigh, N.C. — Piedmont Rising Executive Director Casey Wilkinson released the following statement as more than 1.5 million North Carolinians have filed for unemployment insurance claims since the pandemic began.


“Senators Tillis and Burr must support extending unemployment benefits in the middle of this crisis before they expire next month. Too many North Carolinians are struggling to get by as we face the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. Our senators have a chance to put action behind their rhetoric and actually support working North Carolinians. Failure to support these benefits would only make paying the bills, such as health insurance, more difficult in the middle of a pandemic. Both Tillis and Burr have repeatedly voted to raise health care costs, and they shouldn't also support a pandemic pay cut that would make this crisis even worse.”


Background

Last week, 31,512 North Carolinians filed for unemployment insurance, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.


And, recent reporting shows that Black workers are bearing the brunt of job loss with the national unemployment rate for Black workers actually increasing while unemployment for white workers fell from April to May.


With more than 1.5 million North Carolinians applying for unemployment insurance benefits, a new Kaiser Family Foundation report projects that 723,000 North Carolinians - and their families - have been left without health insurance.


Without the ACA, North Carolina would have entered this pandemic with 500,000 fewer residents insured, and thus 500,000 more who would have weighed seeking treatment for coronavirus-like symptoms against their ability to pay for it.


Federal coronavirus relief legislation enacted in March authorized jobless Americans to receive an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr voted against that expansion. The expanded unemployment insurance payments end on July 31, at which point, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians could be facing a pandemic pay cut.


Tillis’ history of restricting unemployment benefits, blocking Medicaid expansion, attempting to eliminate key public health programs, and limit access to affordable health care dates back to his time as the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives when he fought to reduce eligibility and “touted the benefit reductions.” 


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About Piedmont Rising

Piedmont Rising is a 501 (c)4 issue advocacy organization built by and for North Carolinians to advocate for lower insurance premiums and prescription drug costs and to ensure that more people have access to safe and affordable health care. Through grassroots organizing, education, and engagement, we are amplifying our health care stories and holding our elected officials accountable to the people, and issues they were elected to represent. www.piedmontrising.org


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