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West Virginia weighs-in on more COVID-19 aid from Congress

West Virginia
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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — There could be more COVID-19 aid coming from Washington, D.C.

When Congress convenes the week after Thanksgiving, there will be formal proposals from both parties, which have been far apart, on another round of stimulus.

One of the big fights will be unemployment compensation assistance. Right now there are proposals ranging from 200-dollars a week, to fully reinstating the 600 per week assistance that ended July 31st.

“I think so. I think that the $600 dollar a week pandemic unemployment compensation worked well to help stabilize folks who had lost their jobs, keep people in their homes, helped people pay their utilities,” Seth DiStefano, WV Center for Budget and Policy said.

But critics say the $600 was too much, and some people did not come back to work when offered. Meanwhile, state health officials are also looking for more money from Congress, for more protective gear and testing supplies.

“Really effective testing, so of course we need continue support from the federal government to make sure that we can continue to offer free testing to our citizens so that we identify people who have COVID,” Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar said.

Advocates for additional aid, say one of the biggest needs is food assistance. They want more funding for people in the federal good stamp program known as SNAP.

Key to all of this will be bipartisan cooperation. Many on both sides of the aisle say the additional aid cannot wait until there is a new Congress and President in January.

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