BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Lawmakers in Congress are working to get some COVID-19 relief measure passed before the new year.
Without a deal before the end of the year, evictions would resume, student loan payments would be due, and thousands would become ineligible for unemployment benefits.
“The purpose is to address [the] immediate needs to get our country from December to March. An emergency relief bill,” Sen. Bill Cassidy said during a senate session Tuesday, Nov. 30.
Sen. Cassidy says he’s backing a coronavirus compromise that would delay the doomsday scenario. Although it’s not the favorite plan of either Democrats or Republicans, it begins to address the concerns you’ve expressed for nine months and starts with unemployment.
“I’ve never drawn unemployment in my life,” one Louisiana resident, Mark Taylor, tells WAFB.
“I don’t want to have to move, but I may not have a choice,” another resident, Jan McNeal, says.
“Food-wise, we’re having to be mindful of what we spend,” Terrica Hills explains.
Under the proposed plan, Louisiana residents who are still out of work would get another $300 tacked onto their weekly unemployment checks for ten weeks.
Congress would also replenish part of the Paycheck Protection Program, which basically paid businesses to keep staff employed and working.
“I don’t want to put nobody out because my tenants - they have children,” one landlord, Pearl Porter, tells WAFB.
The government would pay landlords, like Porter, a combined $25 billion since they can’t evict renters who can’t pay up because of the pandemic.
Louisiana would get a share of $160 billion to plug budget holes, replace lost tax revenue, or spend on grant programs for frontline workers and small businesses, like bars.
Sen. Cassidy says he thinks House Democrats will go along with the plan, even though they want a bigger relief package. The idea has support on both sides of the aisle in the Senate.
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