RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Two U.S. House Democrats are seeking to extend federal unemployment assistance and benefits to those reentering the workforce during the pandemic.
U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico and Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada introduced Thursday the Back on Your Feet Act. The bill seeks to provide a one-time federal payment to residents returning to work.
Under the proposal, returning workers would receive $3,600 to help with the costs of working during the pandemic and provide income until the first paycheck arrives. Federal unemployment benefits would also be extended through January 31, 2021, for more than 30 million workers.
The legislation also would provide another $2 billion to help states process unemployment applications.
Torres Small said the bill will allow returning workers to use the extra money to pay for things like child care. “I’ve been talking to a lot of small business owners, and they’ve been saying they are ready to ask former employees to return back to work,” Torres Small said. “But some former workers say they can’t return because they need money for childcare or things like masks and other PPEs.”
The Las Cruces Democrats said the bill will help counties with high unemployment rates.