Udall Statement On Senate Republican Plan To Drastically Cut Critical Unemployment Assistance

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) released the following statement on the Senate Republican coronavirus response package that cuts unemployment assistance by $400 per week as the nation faces record unemployment and consistently high levels of COVID-19 cases:

“While our country suffers devastating and tragic losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, and over 100,000 New Mexicans have lost their jobs almost overnight through no fault of their own, Senate Republicans are proposing a plan to cut a financial lifeline for millions of Americans by $400 per week. Hundreds of people are calling my office in fear about how they will keep a roof over their heads and feed their families when the current $600 expires. But after weeks and weeks of inaction and dawdling, Senate Republicans have released a plan that is both baffling and dangerously out of touch. This cut is both morally wrong and harmful to our economic recovery.

“I strongly support extending unemployment assistance at $600 per week, along with additional stimulus payments, eviction moratorium, and effective action to control this pandemic so that our economy can recover. New Mexico families have been relying on this assistance to pay rent and put food on the table, and are flooding phone lines around the country trying to get their message heard. Republicans callously say this drastic cut to struggling families will incentivize a ‘return to work,’ but that ignores the reality facing the American people: the Trump administration has failed to control the pandemic with evidence-based measures proven to be effective in other nations.

“Giving New Mexicans a false choice between protecting their family’s health and earning a paycheck ignores the fact that many jobs are simply no longer available—because the pandemic is still raging. New Mexicans need certainty during this unprecedented time, and I will stand firm to keep New Mexico families financially afloat until the Trump administration gets its act together on testing, PPE, and clear public health plans that keep Americans safe and allow our economy and daily lives to recover and return.”