NewsLafayette Parish


Some unemployed demand action from Louisiana Senators

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 19:40:03-04

Some people who are unemployed in Acadiana are demanding action from Louisiana's Senators.

Protesters picketed outside the Lafayette offices of Senators John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, calling for a second stimulus bill.

"People who are collecting $600 a week are not sitting at home counting their money they're sending it to their bills," said Mary Pritchard.

She knows first hand the economic impacts of COVID-19 on families across the nation. Pritchard's husband and son both loss their jobs amid the pandemic.

"My husband lost his job in April and he has a Phd...$600 a week doesn't even touch what he was making before. My son is a chef," Pritchard said.

The current $600 federal benefit expires tomorrow.

Senator John Kennedy said, "No fair minded person wants to design an unemployment insurance program where someone is paid more to stay at home than he is to go to work. That's what we have right now and it's not going to be extended."

Protesters say the Senate must restore federal unemployment benefits so working families can make ends meet.

Meanwhile, republicans want to cut weekly unemployment payments down to $200 with a cap at 70% of a worker's previous wages.

Kennedy said, "We have to come up with a fair figure from the Federal government on top of the money from State government so people who through no fault of their own have a way to eat."

Pritchard said, "Stand up for the additional $600. Call your legislators. Get the word out to your neighbors. It impacts all of us and it impacts our economy."

In a statement to KATC, Senator Cassidy said, "I am committed to whatever is needed to support families through this crisis. Congress is negotiating the relief bill now. Where we end up must be consistent with supporting families, and it must dovetail with economic recovery. If there are no jobs, that's one thing. But if there are jobs, that's another. Ideally, the economy will reopen and this will not be needed."

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