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Report: Cutting Off Expanded UI Benefits During Recession Would Be a “Human & Economic Catastrophe"

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

New Congressional Report: Cutting Off Expanded Unemployment Benefits During Recession Would Be a “Human and Economic Catastrophe

While Senators Tillis and Burr Say They Fight for Struggling NCians, They Oppose Extending Expanded Unemployment Benefits that Expire Next Month

1.4 Million North Carolinians Are Out of Work, Yet Sens. Burr & Tillis Have No Plan to Make it Easier for Unemployed & Uninsured to Get Health Insurance

Raleigh, N.C. Piedmont Rising Executive Director Casey Wilkinson released a statement in response to a new report from the Joint Economic Committee and today’s Senate Finance Committee hearing on the role of unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“More than a million North Carolinians are still out of work and are struggling to access health care, yet Senators Burr and Tillis continue to oppose aid for workers and families. Senators Burr and Tillis’ repeated attacks on health care and critical aid to those out of work have made our economy, our health, and our communities more vulnerable.

“North Carolinians are calling on Senators Burr and Tillis to reverse their long-standing opposition to helping workers who have lost their jobs. They can show leadership in the coming weeks by making clear that they will vote to support expanded unemployment benefits. Anything short of this is leaving struggling North Carolinians out to dry in the middle of a recession, especially communities of color who are bearing the brunt of this health and economic crisis.”


  • More than 42 million Americans -- and more than 1.4 million North Carolinians -- have lost their jobs, as the pandemic and necessary public health closures drove the fastest implosion of the U.S. job market in history.

  • Americans who have been laid off from their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic have been able to collect an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits as part of the stimulus package known as the CARES Act. But next month, if lawmakers fail to act, Americans who are out of work will see that $600 a week disappear from their unemployment insurance.

  • A new report, from the Joint Economic Committee, warned that unless a federal supplement to unemployment benefits is extended past its July 31 expiration date, the economy will be further damaged. The JEC estimates that as many as 2.8 million jobs were saved and the unemployment rate was reduced by as much as 1.8 percent due to the added benefits.

  • In March, Tillis and Burr voted to stop an expansion of unemployment benefits for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 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.


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.

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