Snowball effect: Advocates say economic crisis looms

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KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Two COVID-19 benefits under the CARES Act will come to an end this week, with no other financial protection plans to replace them.

The first is a national suspension preventing eviction, and those unemployed by the current pandemic have been receiving $600 weekly under the CARES Act to stay afloat, but on Thursday, July 31, that money stops.

“We need really extraordinary measures to continue to keep our families intact, keep our cities and counties functioning and our state’s function – we need Congress to step up and do the right thing,” said Gart Zuckett, executive director for the West Virginia Citizen Action Group.

According to the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, 20% of the Mountain State’s population is unemployed and on virus relief.

Technically the $600 payments stop this Thursday, but the Department of Labor has told the states they had to stop paying it last Thursday.

Congress has yet to agree on any replacement.

Reporter Haley Kosik asked Zuckett why they have they waited so long to talk about this:

“I don’t understand what a good reason would be, I understand that Senator Mitch McConnell wanted to wait and see how the first federal care’s package worked and what worked and what didn’t – evidently they weren’t paying attention,” he said.

“Hopefully we can come together behind some package we can agree on in the next few weeks,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

While we wait for that agreement, West Virginian’s livelihoods are at stake.

“Just seems like at the very last minute and now they’re trying to throw something together and it’s just so frustrating to see our federal government is being so lackadaisical with people’s lives,” Zuckett said.

Republicans are currently working on a “CARES 2” package that they hope to propose on Monday.

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