Coalition urges Congress to reinstate lifesaving federal unemployment payments

LANSING – Legislative, business and nonprofit leaders today called on the U.S. Senate to reinstate the federal unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans still out of work. The weekly $600 payments end today, and with U.S. Senate adjourning for the weekend, thousands of Michigan families will struggle to find ways to fill this financial void.

“Michigan still has half a million residents out of work through no fault of their own, and they are relying on the additional federal unemployment support to help them make their mortgage or rent payments and put food on the table,” said state Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit). “With the U.S. Senate adjourning for the weekend, thousands of Michigan families in Detroit and beyond could be pushed to the brink of financial collapse at a time when our economy is still fragile. We should be doing everything in our power to support Michigan residents so they can buy medicine, pay their bills and hang on through this unprecedented pandemic. I am calling on leaders in Washington to act quickly to reinstate a federal unemployment program before it’s too late.”

“We know families were already struggling with food insecurity, even before the current pandemic,” says Dr. Darienne Hudson, president, and CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “With the end of the moratorium on evictions looming and the rollback of unemployment benefits, thousands of families are on the verge of losing their homes and their stability.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated our economy and more than 500,000 Michiganders are still bearing the brunt of this crisis,” said Branden Snyder, executive director Detroit Action and the Michigan Small Business Alliance. “Nearly half of Black and one-third of Latino Detroiters say they have lost their job due to the pandemic in a region that is already grappling with unemployment and poverty. The loss of this weekly federal unemployment payment is a huge hit to thousands of already vulnerable families. Many Michigan workers have been counting on both federal and state unemployment to weather the storm. If we can keep our families and businesses out of crippling debt by making sure they have basic resources to pay their bills, we can get these hardworking people back on their feet and into new jobs when our economy slowly begins to rebuild, which could be awhile.”

“Michigan’s small businesses have suffered greatly due to the ongoing pandemic,” said Hanna Schulze, president of Local First and Good for Michigan. “We’ve seen the federal government time and again prioritize large wealthy corporations over small, locally owned businesses. Lack of action at the federal level to support struggling Americans has the potential to cause a devastating ripple effect that will cause even more damage to our already fragile economy. More money in Michiganders’ pockets means more money that can help keep our small businesses and local economy running. Now, more than ever, we need our Congressional Delegation to fight to ensure Michigan families and businesses get the critical resources they need to survive.”