News Releases

Senator Murray prioritizes working people over big corporations, gets direct relief for workers in Senate coronavirus package 

Expanded Unemployment Insurance: Authorizes an additional $600 in weekly unemployment insurance benefits and provides benefits to individuals unable to work because of COVID-19 

Direct Payments: $1,200 per individual, plus $500 for children 

Senator Murray: “There's much more we'll still need to do to help families weather this storm, and I'm going to stay focused on ensuring people on the front lines of this crisis come first”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate labor committee and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, supported provisions in the Senate coronavirus relief package to provide expanded unemployment benefits and direct relief to the millions of workers and their families in Washington state and across the country that are being financially squeezed due to the current pandemic. Senator Murray successfully fought to include in the Senate package a number of measures, including a 13 week extension of and $600 weekly increase to unemployment insurance benefits and an expansion of unemployment benefits to self-employed and part time workers. Additionally, the legislation includes cash payments up to $1,200 to individuals and $500 per child to help directly support families through the current crisis.

"If you're living paycheck to paycheck as so many people and families across our state do, this pandemic is nothing short of a personal financial catastrophe—so I'm glad this bill includes the kind of direct relief to families and communities that I've made clear we need. There's much more we'll still need to do to help families weather this storm, and I'm going to stay focused on ensuring people on the front lines of this crisis come first."

Senator Murray is an original cosponsor of S. 3497, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act, off of which the language in the bill is modeled. On March 23, Senator Murray called Republicans back to the negotiating table after opposing an earlier version of the relief package, released without Democratic support, and fought to prioritize the working people hit hardest by the economic downturn that has resulted from the coronavirus pandemic in the legislation, helping ensure workers who lose hours or have their jobs eliminated are still able to provide for themselves and their families through this crisis. Despite the progress made in this legislation, Senator Murray has been clear that there are still significant steps the federal government needs to take to fully support workers, such as adopting her PAID Leave Act, which would provide 14 paid sick days and 12 weeks of paid family & medical leave during public health emergencies like the coronavirus crisis.

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