Washington, D.C. – Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), led by CPC Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), incoming Deputy Chair Katie Porter (CA-45) and incoming Deputy Whip Ro Khanna (CA-17), sent a letter to House and Senate leadership on Friday, December 12th, calling for the inclusion of expanded Unemployment Insurance and other direct cash payments in any COVID stimulus deal. Direct cash assistance has been shown to be far more effective in delivering critically-needed aid to communities and stimulating our economy, compared to other programs like the Paycheck Protection Program. The letter, which was signed by seventeen members of the CPC Executive Board, can be accessed here.
“Initial research into the impact of the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act shows an overwhelming advantage to each dollar spent on UI,” the letter notes. “While the CARES Act committed only about half of the $510 billion it included for the Payment Protection Program (PPP), increasing UI had a far greater and more equitable impact on the U.S. economic recovery than PPP did.”
“Enhanced UI benefits and direct payments are a crucial part of any COVID relief package, and should be included alongside housing and homelessness assistance, expanded SNAP benefits, and increased funding for state and local aid,” the letter continues. “All pandemic UI benefits and bonus payments for all UI beneficiaries should be fully funded for at a minimum of six months. The next COVID relief package should build on the successes rather than repeat the shortcoming of the CARES Act. Accordingly, we strongly encourage increased investment into enhanced UI and direct payments, while capping PPP loans to target relief toward small businesses.”