The Biden administration is poised to allow additional federal unemployment benefits to expire on September 6, 528 days after they were first implemented as part of the CARES Act. That’s bad news for the 9 million-plus workers still receiving them, and it could very well mean American families losing their homes and American children going hungry. All of which begs the question: why isn’t the president trying to extend the benefits and protect those vulnerable Americans?
A letter to the chairmen of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees holds the answers. In it, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Labor Secretary Martin Walsh explain the rationale behind allowing what they call “a critical lifeline for millions of Americans who were unemployed, through no fault of their own during the COVID pandemic” even as that pandemic takes a turn for the worse.