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As Senate proposes new stimulus bill, Louisiana's unemployed fear they're running out of time

"... we’re all doing the best that we possibly can for ourselves and our family, just please get back to the table,”

NEW ORLEANS — There’s a proposal for a second round of stimulus for people suffering from the economic crisis COVID-19 has caused. 

The proposed bill comes from a bipartisan group of senators, but there are questions surrounding the support needed for it to survive. 

Many unemployed workers in New Orleans are concerned how much longer they can hold on without another shot of stimulus.  Cordelia Rogers managed to pull her family out of homelessness before, but she’s worried about paying rent this month.

“I went from not having a place to finally having a place, and I’m on the verge of losing it again?  I refuse to go back that way,” Rogers said. 

Rogers says she contracted COVID in March.  A short time later, she got furloughed from her job at the Morial Convention Center and then from her second job at Louis Armstrong International airport.

“Sometimes I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to come up with extra change to feed myself and my boys,” Rogers said. 

She’s one of many unemployed hospitality workers who have teamed up with the advocacy group Step Up Louisiana to push for more government aid.  Like her fellow hospitality workers during the pandemic, she relied on supplemental federal unemployment benefits to stay afloat.  That dried up in July.  A bipartisan pack of senators is proposing a second round of stimulus.  Republican Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy is among that group. 

 “There are many things in there, that are important to Louisiana.  Our hospitality workers, whether it’s the chef in Shreveport or the B&B owner in New Orleans and all points in between have been very negatively impacted by this,” Sen. Cassidy said. 

The bipartisan proposal would offer, among other things, $300 dollars a week in federal unemployment benefits.  That is less than the $600/week unemployed workers received in the first stimulus package.  So far, the proposal doesn’t have the backing of the White House or major congressional leaders.  Without that, political watchers say it’ll likely be after Joe Biden’s inauguration that a second stimulus package could arrive.  Cordelia Rogers is pleading with politicians to do it sooner.   

“I’m not speaking out just for myself.  I’m speaking out for everyone else that’s in my situation, for the single mothers, the single fathers, the middle class workers, we’re all doing the best that we possibly can for ourselves and our family, just please get back to the table,” Rogers said.   

With Christmas just a few weeks away, many unemployed Americans are hoping for the gift of compromise in Congress.  

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