Press Releases

Rep. Frankel, Florida Members Send Letter Urging Immediate Action to Help Workers Facing Economic Distress During Pandemic

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Washington, March 17, 2020 | comments

West Palm Beach, FL – Today, thirteen members of Florida’s congressional delegation joined Representative Lois Frankel (FL-21) in sending a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis urging immediate action to alleviate the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on workers and small businesses as economic activity slows down and individuals go without paychecks.

The U.S. House has taken action to help states improve and strengthen unemployment insurance benefits, including $500 million for states to implement any necessary changes to their unemployment insurance programs. Florida provides only twelve weeks of unemployment insurance and caps the benefit at $275 per week, among the lowest in the country. The letter asks the Governor to take action to raise benefits and make it easier to access them.

Congress also directed the SBA to make low-interest loans available to small businesses and non-profit organizations that have suffered economic injury as a result of COVID-19. The letter asks the governor to implement the program and provide small businesses with guidance on how to access this federal assistance.

“Businesses are shutting down and people are hurting. We need quick action by the Governor to ensure all Floridians have access to critical emergency financial assistance,” said Rep. Lois Frankel (FL-21).

The letter specifically requests the State of Florida takes the following actions:

  • Submit a formal request for disaster assistance to the Trump Administration to ensure Florida is eligible for emergency federal resources.
  • Provide guidance to small businesses on how to access emergency loans from the SBA.
  • Modify unemployment benefit requirements to ensure Florida residents will be eligible for emergency COVID-19 unemployment payments, to include:
    • Waiver of work and job search requirements and the mandatory waiting period during the outbreak;
    • Increase the length of time workers are eligible for unemployment during the outbreak to 26 weeks;
    • Issue COVID-19 specific guidance for accessing state unemployment insurance benefits that provides the greatest flexibility possible.
    • Increase the maximum payouts to ensure sufficient coverage;
    • Call the Florida State Legislature into session to take action on any of the above items that require their approval.

The letter was signed by Representatives Lois Frankel (FL-21), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Val Demings (FL-10), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Al Lawson (FL-5), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), Stephanie Murphy (FL-7), Donna Shalala (FL-27), Darren Soto (FL-9), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24). For the full letter, click here.

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