The enhanced federal unemployment benefits put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic will end in the next few weeks, ending the unemployment insurance boost for millions of Americans.
According to The Hill, gig workers and other unemployed Americans receiving aid through programs created for the pandemic will see those checks end on Sept. 7, along with the $300 unemployment insurance supplement.
With President Joe Biden yet to decide the extension of the federal unemployment benefit bump, some 7.5 million Americans would be left without benefits, and millions more would see smaller weekly unemployment checks.
In August, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the administration is leaving the door open to an extension. However, should Biden want to change course, Congress would need to pass legislation, and a bill to extend unemployment benefits would undoubtedly face opposition from Republicans.
Even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has spoken out against extending the pandemic aid programs, dashing the chance of an extension through the pending reconciliation spending bill.
Manchin argued that the U.S. economy is more robust now, and the job market will also get better.
In July, the U.S. added 943,000 new jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.4% from 5.9% as the country ended the month with a record 10 million job openings.
In the latest data, the Labor Department reported on Thursday, Aug. 19, that jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 14 totaled 348,000, a pandemic-era low, which signals the jobs market is improving heading into the fall.
According to CNBC, Congress passed legislation twice in the past year to avert the so-called benefits cliff, so another extension seems unlikely.
In addition, many state governors and Republican lawmakers cited labor shortages, claiming enhanced benefits prevent people from looking for work.
About 2.8 million Americans are currently collecting regular state benefits, according to the Labor Department.