April 13, 2020

Warren & 33 Democratic Senators Press Trump Administration to Ensure Workers Receive Unemployment Benefits

Senators request Labor Department clarify guidance to ensure the range of workers who Congress intended to cover are covered

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today joined Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and 31 Democratic colleagues to press the Department of Labor to ensure workers Congress intended to be covered by the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program receive the benefits they are owed. 

"(P)arts of the guidance appear narrow or ambiguous, which could make states think they need to exclude workers who Congress clearly intended to receive unemployment compensation through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program," the senators wrote.

The senators are requesting the Department of Labor clarify its guidance pertaining to workers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 without receiving a test, workers with COVID-19 who take time off of work, workers without child care options in summer months, workers unable to get to work due to stay-at-home orders, workers with underlying health conditions like asthma, and self-employed workers like gig workers who are unable to work due to plummeting demand for their services.

On April 7th, Senator Warren and a similar group of Democrats outlined a number of actions the administration should take to help states disburse the new unemployment insurance as quickly as possible. 

The letter was also signed by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Angus S. King Jr. (I-Maine), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai'i), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Robert P. Casey (D-Pa.), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).