Sens. Blumenthal and Murphy push for unemployment assistance extension

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — If you are unemployed and receiving weekly unemployment benefits, your checks may be about to get a whole lot smaller. The $600 federal enhancement that a lot of families rely on expired Friday.

Single mom Sebrina Wilson was laid off in June from her position at a local school district. She’s barely making enough to pay the rent and keep the lights on. Wilson is worried she’ll go deeper in the hole now that her federal enhancement has run out.

“My unemployment will go down to $400 a week. And that’s $1,600 a month. My rent is over 1,000 dollars,” she said.

That still leaves groceries, utilities, and transportation bills to be paid.

“We are going to face hunger and hardship of unprecedented magnitude in these next couple of months if there is a failure to renew the $600 unemployment insurance,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal 

Blumenthal and Senator Chris Murphy met in Hartford to reprimand their Republican congressional counterparts who they say are giving little ground towards a full benefits extension. Republicans have said they’re willing to issue a reduced $200 enhancement. Senators Blumenthal and Murphy say that is not helpful.

“Doing nothing is unacceptable,” said Murphy.

As families continue to flock to the massive Rentschler Field food share program, now extended for another month, the pain in our state is palpable. But business owners are also suffering. Some say they are finding it hard to entice employees back to the job.

“Some of the part-timers, they’re making more money collecting than they are coming to work. So that’s part of the challenge,” said San Marino Ristorante owner Tony D’Elia of Waterbury.

“The overwhelming majority of people who work in this business or somewhere else want to come back,” contends Blumenthal.

Wilson says she’s praying for a job by the time her son returns to school. “It’s just been really hard even with a degree to find work,” said the mom.

Congress is set to break for its August recess at the end of next week.

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