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Millions without pandemic unemployment assistance as the CARES Act begins to expire

Stimulus check
Posted at 9:47 PM, Dec 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-26 22:47:59-05

KILLEEN, TX — Millions of Americans will be without pandemic unemployment aid starting Saturday as Congress and President Donald Trump fail to pass a COVID-19 relief package.

Jason Van Loo accounts for just one of the millions of unemployed Texans who have lost their job at the hands of the pandemic.

“He [supervisor] really didn’t know how to put it. He kept on stuttering and told me that they had to put me in a furlough,” he explained. “It was a shocker, especially come July 8. They told me that they had to let me go due to COVID-19.”

The veteran makes ends meet with the help of the government, but as the pandemic unemployment aid under the CARES Act comes to an end, he’ll continue to look for work while carrying the stress of supporting a family of five.

It’s a feeling, he said, can be described in a few words.

“Frantic, worried, I don't show it, but on the inside I feel it,” he said.

Earlier this week, Congress passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package in hopes of extending pandemic unemployment. It would give most Americans a $600 check and protect people from evictions.

“There's a lot of things that will impact the economy over time from such a thing, and obviously the big concern right now is what is the impact of $600 one-time to individuals,” said Dr. Rob Tennant, the Interim Accounting, Finance and Economics Department Chair for Texas A&M Central Texas.

Though the legislation has yet to be signed and passed, Dr. Tennant believes a decision will be made in the coming weeks.

“When something is resolved, some type of aid check, you know, one-time deal will be sent to people, and that will put a temporary boost, and then the extended unemployment bill will help people [long term],” he said.

Until then, Jason keeps his faith in hopes of a positive outcome.

“I pray for everybody in this situation, as well as my own family. It sucks,” he said. “And I just hope that up in Congress, they get their heads together and do what’s right.”

Most pandemic benefits under the CARES Act will expire on December 31, unless the president and Congress can reach a mutual agreement and pass legislation.