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This week, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) will introduce a bill to extend all federal pandemic unemployment insurance through February 1, 2022. If passed, benefits would be retroactive to September 6. The bill text is available here.

“I’ve been very disappointed on both sides of the aisle that we’ve just allowed pandemic unemployment assistance to completely lapse, when we are clearly not fully recovered from the cost effects of the pandemic,” the Congresswoman said in a townhall Tuesday evening, previewing the release of the bill. “I simply just could not allow this to happen without at least trying.”

Federal pandemic unemployment insurance and stimulus checks lifted nearly 8.5 million Americans out of poverty last year, according to recently released data from the Census Bureau. Cutting off this aid now, as coronavirus cases surge and job growth stagnates, threatens to reverse that progress and deepen existing inequities. In August, the U.S. economy created the fewest number of jobs in seven months (cite). Unemployment for Black and Hispanic women actually grew in June (cite).