Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plans to introduce a bill to extend federal unemployment benefits that ended for many Americans last week. Under the proposed legislation, these benefits would be extended until Feb. 1, 2022.
The government rolled out expanded unemployment benefits amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including $300 weekly checks and assistance for those who are normally ineligible for unemployment insurance, such as gig workers. These benefits expired on Labor Day (though some states had already opted out of the federal programs). Millions of Americans were impacted by the cutoff, and an estimated 7.5 million lost all benefits.
“I’ve been very disappointed on both sides of the aisle that we’ve just simply allowed pandemic unemployment assistance to completely lapse when we are clearly not fully recovered from the cost effects of the pandemic,” said Ocasio-Cortez during a virtual town hall on Tuesday evening.
If the bill passed, benefits would be retroactive to Sept. 6. However, it’s unclear if the legislation will gain enough support. Democrats previously debated whether to extend unemployment benefits, but decided not to, according to Bloomberg.
A representative for Ocasio-Cortez didn’t immediately respond to a request for further comment.