Wyden Statement on Bipartisan COVID Package

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released the following statement on the bipartisan COVID relief package unveiled today:

“Congress must pass an economic relief package before the end of the year to avert more economic backsliding and financial catastrophe for millions of families. The bipartisan group has worked in good faith, and I appreciate their efforts. Their proposal on unemployment benefits would ensure 12 million jobless Americans don’t see their incomes fall to zero. It would also extend eligibility for those experiencing long-term joblessness, which is critical.

“It’s disappointing that the $300 weekly boost is not retroactive. Millions of workers are thousands of dollars behind on their rent and utilities, and providing retroactive benefits is critical if they have any hope of catching up. More broadly, the pandemic is worse than it has ever been, and workers would be far better off with a reinstatement of the full $600 weekly boost. The $600 boost saved the economy and lifted millions of families out of poverty. There was no reason to let it expire, and there’s no reason to not reinstate it in full.

“I also wanted to see relief checks for working folks, and will continue to push for them. This whole process reiterates the importance of Mitch McConnell not being able to sabotage additional economic relief next year. While the vaccine is now being administered, it will take months to widely distribute. The hardest-hit service industries are not going to come back right away, and continued relief, especially for workers experiencing long-term joblessness, is going to be absolutely critical. That’s why I’ve been pushing so hard to tie relief programs like unemployment benefits to conditions on the ground. Whether or not you can feed your family should not depend on whether it’s in Mitch McConnell’s political interest.”