Sen. Sherrod Brown wants the U.S. Department of Labor to help states get additional unemployment benefits out faster to the millions of people who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Brown was among more than 30 Democrats to sign a letter to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia asking the department to take steps to more quickly distribute the federal supplemental unemployment benefits Congress earmarked in a $2 trillion stimulus and relief package last month.
That package included payments of $600 a week on top of state benefits for those filing for unemployment, but the rollout at the state level has been slow.
“We are lighting a fire under him to make sure that the feds do what they need to do so the states can get unemployment insurance into workers’ pockets as quickly as possible,” Brown said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters.
Ohio’s unemployment system has been overwhelmed by claims. Nearly 470,000 Ohioans filed jobless claims in a two-week period, and that toll is expected to grow when new weekly claims numbers are released Thursday.
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