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African Americans whose unemployment insurance checks stopped coming as Senate lawmakers engaged in weeks of bitter debate and Republican procedural hurdles. Wednesday, the upper chamber finally passed the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act and the House passed Senate amendments to the bill Thursday afternoon with a vote of 272-152.
Our communities need something to help them weather the storm and get them through this very difficult period,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Barbara Lee. “This is but one small step in the right direction. The bottom line is we have to create good-paying sustainable jobs and that’s what we’ve been fighting for.”
The 2.4 million Americans who lost their benefits when the provision expired on June 2 will receive retroactive lump-sum checks in approximately two to four weeks.
“Every dollar we spend today returns almost double that amount into our economy. With the action we took today, we are keeping families in their homes, avoiding the deterioration of our workforce potential, and continuing the tradition of empathy that Americans have always shown for those in need,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland).
The unemployment rate for African Americans inched slightly lower to 15.4% in June from 15.5% in May, according to the Department of Labor. The overall U.S. jobless rate fell to 9.5% in June from 9.7% in May, reflecting a decrease of 225,000 jobs in the number of temporary employees working for the Census.