Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

A volunteer prepares food from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida for distribution to the needy at Church in the Son on August 7, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Just Two States Have Begun Paying Out Boosted Unemployment Aid 15 Days After Mnuchin Promised Benefits in a 'Week or Two'

"The American people need real relief that fights the pandemic and puts money in workers' pockets—posturing and gimmicks will not solve the enormous problems they face."

Jake Johnson

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin vowed on August 10 that "within the next week or two," most states would be able to set up and carry out President Donald Trump's makeshift program authorizing a $300-per-week federal boost to unemployment benefits.

As of Tuesday, more than two weeks after Mnuchin's comments, just Arizona and Texas have begun distributing the $300 weekly payments, leading Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) to declare that "Trump's smoke-and-mirrors executive orders are simply not good enough."

"The American people need real relief that fights the pandemic and puts money in workers' pockets—posturing and gimmicks will not solve the enormous problems they face."
—Rep. Don Beyer
Earlier this month, after the White House and Democratic congressional leaders failed to reach a deal extending the federal unemployment supplement that lapsed at the end of July, Trump signed an order redirecting up to $44 billion in disaster funds into a new program that lawmakers and experts criticized as illegal, unworkable, and woefully inadequate. The president promised the benefits would be "rapidly distributed."

The Lost Wages Assistance program greenlights a $300-per-week federal supplement to existing state unemployment benefits, with cash-strapped states expected to kick in an additional $100 each week. The $300 weekly federal boost represents just half of the $600-per-week supplement that officially expired on July 31 thanks to opposition from congressional Republicans and the Trump administration.

As Bloomberg reported Tuesday, 30 states have been approved for the federal benefits but many are struggling to get the program up and running due to its design. Officials from Utah and New Mexico, two states that have been approved for the program, told Bloomberg that "they anticipate it will be a few weeks before payments reach residents."

Beyer, the vice chair of the congressional Joint Economic Committee, noted in a statement Tuesday that "it has been a month now since Senate Republicans shamefully allowed enhanced unemployment benefits to expire," drastically cutting the incomes of around 30 million Americans.

"The American people need real relief that fights the pandemic and puts money in workers' pockets—posturing and gimmicks will not solve the enormous problems they face," said Beyer. "If the White House does not get serious about the level of aid that is needed, it will imperil the economic recovery."

Beyer's warning comes amid numerous signs—including surging unemployment claims—that the recovery is sputtering as Covid-19 continues to spread across the United States. Some analysts have linked the expiration of the $600-per-week federal unemployment boost to faltering consumer spending:

Despite the worrying trajectory of the overall economy and the dire financial conditions that tens of millions of Americans are currently facing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has shown no interest in calling his chamber back from summer recess to work with House Democrats on a Covid-19 relief package.

"Thirty million don't have enough to eat, 22 million are behind on rent," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted Monday. "It is morally obscene that the American people have to rely on GoFundMe to pay for rent and food. Mitch McConnell: End your vacation. Pass emergency relief now."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·

'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·

80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo