CHICAGO (CBS) — Expanded unemployment benefits are set to run out Saturday for as many as 12 million Americans. Meanwhile the country waits for another COVID-19 relief bill, which is still held up in Washington. The one passed by Congress was flown to Florida for President Donald Trump’s signature, but it is still not clear if he will sign it.
President Trump is demanding $2,000 payments to Americans, and so are Democrats.
“Six hundred is certainly not enough for individuals who have been struggling these past seven months,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. the House majority leader.
Congressional Republicans blocked an amended package to increase the stimulus from the $600 in the current bill to up to $2,000. President Trump has threatened to veto any measure with the lower amount. If he does not sign the current bill, it could spark a federal shutdown at midnight Monday.
If that COVID-19 stimulus bill does not pass, it could also mean tens of thousands of individuals and business owners in Illinois will lose their unemployment benefits.
“Send me a sustainable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package,” President Trump said.
It is waiting for that next bill that has thousands of Chicagoans worried. The longer this drags out, the longer people will have to wait to get the money.
The include Shakeria Cunningham, who lost her job this spring. Now on top of that and not being able to buy Christmas gifts for her children this year, she might have COVID-19.
“It went from not having Christmas gifts for my kids to being confined in my bedroom while my kids are in a different room,” she said.
President Trump could still sign the bill as is. It would at least give the original $600 to people who have already been pinching pennies.
If not, the country could be heading toward a government shutdown Monday.