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RALEIGH, NC — After Senator Thom Tillis decided to walk away from COVID relief negotiations and head off for Senate recess, North Carolinians are paying the price with delayed unemployment benefits, questions about how long stopgap benefits will last and unemployment numbers on the rise.
Tillis’ inaction is causing delays for North Carolinians waiting to receive federal unemployment benefits, as the state must apply for the funding and decide how to cover the $100 match.
As reported by CBS 17, Sara from Durham is struggling to make ends meet on her $170/week unemployment benefits as she works to pay the bills and put food on the table. She blames Congress for not being able to get a deal done: “They’re a joke! They’re a joke! I knew that they would do that because they don’t care. It’s a battle between them, and we’re the ones that are suffering for it.”
Tillis and Senate Republicans failed to secure a deal that would extend federal emergency unemployment benefits, letting the benefits laps instead. President Trump then signed an executive order that reduces the amount North Carolinians will receive to $300 from $600 with the option for a state match of $100. The federal funding will be taken from a federal disaster relief fund through FEMA and may only last for three weeks. Last week, Cal joined coastal leaders on a virtual press call to warn against the administration’s plans to raid hurricane relief funds to make up for the Senate’s failure to pass timely COVID-19 relief.
The cuts and delays in unemployment benefits come as unemployment numbers are once again on the rise in the U.S., with more than 1 million Americans out of work.
“North Carolinians are struggling right now and Senator Thom Tillis’ inaction only adds to the burden of families in our state trying to make ends meet,” said Kate Frauenfelder, a spokeswoman for Cal Cunningham’s campaign. “North Carolinians deserve a Senator that will stand up and fight for them, not one who walks away when things get tough.”