Doyle, YWCA Director to Join Call for Extension of Higher Benefits

State Rep. Steve Doyle, D-Onalaska, and YWCA La Crosse Executive Director Lauren Journot will join with Citizen Action of Wisconsin in La Crosse on Tuesday at an event to call for an extension of the $600 a week in additional unemployment benefits that’s set to expire at the end of July.

The extra $600 was part of the $1.8 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress to deal with the mass unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has helped millions of low-income Americans keep their heads above water during the crisis.

“The extra $600 has been by far the most effective part of the economic policy response to the coronavirus shock,” economists Josh Bivens and Heidi Shierholz wrote for the Economic Policy Institute recently. “Policymakers should extend all (or at least most) of this extra boost well past July—at least until unemployment is falling rapidly and at a manageable level.”

However, funding for the extra $600 for jobless benefits is set to expire July 25 without action by Congress. Republicans have signaled they oppose calls for an extension of the higher benefits, but without one millions will quickly face financial hardship. The unemployment rate in Wisconsin was 12% in May, a drop from the previous month, but still far higher than the 9.3% rate recorded at the worst point of the last downturn.

Citizen Action executive director Robert Kraig, Doyle and Journot will speak Tuesday at the event in La Crosse to call for an extension of the increased unemployment benefits. Since March, the state of Wisconsin has received over 650,000 applications for unemployment, and many faced long delays before they started receiving their benefits.

Citizen Action is also calling for a public jobs bill to deal with the unemployment crisis. The organization backs a proposal endorsed by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, to create a federally subsidized jobs program that would pay for infrastructure and public service projects.

The Citizen Action event starts at noon, Tuesday, June 30, at Riverside Park in La Crosse. Masks are required and social distancing will be enforced. More details here.

Citizen Action is an organizing cooperative, working on social, economic and environmental issues. Click here for more information on the local Citizen Action co-op.

By Eric Timmons. Questions? Email lacrosseindependent@gmail.com.

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