Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks during a press conference in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks during a press conference in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2021. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

'We Are Clearly Not Fully Recovered': Ocasio-Cortez to Introduce Extension of Boosted Unemployment Benefits

"I simply just could not allow this to happen without at least trying."

Brett Wilkins

As millions of American workers and their families continue to reel from the expiration of federal pandemic unemployment insurance on Labor Day, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced Tuesday that she will introduce legislation to extend the boosted jobless assistance benefits until the beginning of next February.

The Extend Unemployment Assistance Act of 2021 (pdf) would be retroactive to September 6, the day on which the jobless benefits expired for more than 7.5 million U.S. workers. The termination affected not only those workers, but also tens of millions of their dependents, in what one analyst described as "the largest cutoff of unemployment benefits in history."

"I've been very disappointed on both sides of the aisle that we've just allowed pandemic unemployment assistance to completely lapse, when we are clearly not fully recovered from the cost effects of the pandemic," Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said during a Tuesday evening virtual town hall event previewing the bill's release, according to her office. "I simply just could not allow this to happen without at least trying."

According to data released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week, more than 38 million Americans struggled with food insecurity at some point last year, a roughly 9% increase compared with 2019. The report suggested that multiple pandemic relief measures helped to avert an even more severe hunger crisis.

Meanwhile, data from a recent U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey showed that federal income support led to a decrease in food insecurity. On Tuesday, the agency released separate figures revealing the impact of 2020 pandemic relief measures.

"Federal pandemic unemployment insurance and stimulus checks lifted nearly 8.5 million Americans out of poverty last year," Ocasio-Cortez's office said in an email citing separate Census Bureau figures. "Cutting off this aid now, as coronavirus cases surge and job growth stagnates, threatens to reverse that progress and deepen existing inequities."

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

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

450+ Climate Scientists Demand PR Industry Drop Fossil Fuel Clients

"To put it simply, advertising and public relations campaigns for fossil fuels must stop," states an open letter to ad agencies and major firms.

Andrea Germanos ·

100+ Ultra-Rich People Warn Fellow Elites: 'It's Taxes or Pitchforks'

"History paints a pretty bleak picture of what the endgame of extremely unequal societies looks like," reads an open letter signed by millionaires and billionaires calling for higher taxes on people like themselves.

Jake Johnson ·

South Dakota Voters Sue Over Right-Wing Attack on Ballot Measures

The GOP effort in the state, said one opponent, "is the latest example of the orchestrated and ongoing attack from bad actors across the country on our democratic institutions."

Kenny Stancil ·

Eric Trump Invoked 5th Amendment 500 Times During 6-Hour Deposition

Longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg refused a similar number of questions, citing his right to not self-incriminate.

Jake Johnson ·

Vaccine Apartheid Means Pandemic 'Nowhere Near Over': WHO Chief

"With the incredible growth of Omicron globally, new variants are likely to emerge," warned WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo