Americans are going to have to live with this new pandemic normal as the stilts the government built to prop Americans up during the pandemic come down, even though Democrats are simultaneously pushing forward with longer-term agenda items that would remake the economy to better support low-income workers.
Extra jobless benefits are over. Lawmakers aren’t talking about extending them and no states have taken Biden up on his offer to use federal relief funds.
- More than 8 million people are now left with no unemployment compensation at all
- Another 2.7 million lost the $300 federal weekly boost but will continue receiving state payments
- Roughly 2.7 million Americans were already cut off from some or all of their benefits in June or July after two dozen states opted to terminate at least one of the programs early.
There are 10 million job openings in the US. Cutting off the unemployment spigot might not lead to a huge uptick in new hires, Luhby writes. Many people are focusing on raising kids. Others are worried about getting or spreading the disease.
Money for schools. One place where the money isn’t yet running out is in special Covid-19 funding for schools. Congress authorized $190 billion for US schools and many billions haven’t been spent.
The funds were the equivalent of six years of funding and schools have several years to spend it all. Twenty percent must go to address learning loss, but schools have a lot of leeway on the rest, writes Katie Lobosco:
The Detroit public school district, for example, plans to use Covid relief funds to give teachers a one-time bonus, provide tutoring, expand mental health services, make facility improvements and reduce class size by hiring more teachers.
But not every proposed use can be justified. The Illinois State Board of Education recently rejected a district’s plan to use Covid relief dollars towards an artificial surface on its football field.
One place where schools have no choice is on vaccines. Kids under 12 aren’t approved for vaccination and the FDA has not given a firm timeline on when they will be. There’s a similar, but perhaps shorter timeline for boosters, which Biden had said could start going intoo American arms by September 20, but which haven’t gotten FDA approval.
“Eviction filings are expected to ramp up, but it is yet to be seen how backlogged courts are and how effective the remaining patchwork of state and local protections will be in keeping renters in place until they secure rent relief,” she writes.
The government’s efforts to both avoid evictions and keep landlords whole has been a bureaucratic mess as states were asked to distribute federal dollars.
Of $46 billion Congress earmarked for emergency rent relief money, only $5.1 billion has been spent.
If that money starts flowing, it could delay a wave of evictions. A number of states also have their own eviction moratoria.
For now, landlords are breathing sighs of relief that the federal ban, first put in place one year ago by the US Centers for Disease Control and Protection, is over.