Rosen and Cortez Masto Co-Sponsor Legislation to Help Millions of Unemployed Workers Impacted by COVID-19

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) announced their co-sponsorship of the American Worker Holiday Relief Act. The bill would extend the enhanced unemployment insurance programs established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide stability to millions of Americans who lost their jobs as a result of the ongoing economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Nevada’s economy has been greatly impacted by the pandemic and our workers need relief,” said the Senators. “Given the long economic road to recovery ahead, it is essential to ensure relief for unemployed Americans, including gig workers, low-wage workers, and those in underserved communities, so Nevada’s hard-working families can safely weather this crisis. We’re proud to co-sponsor this important legislation that would extend the enhanced CARES Act unemployment programs, tie the duration of enhanced benefits to the unemployment rate so these programs last, and ensure no worker is left behind.” 

BACKGROUND: Specifically, the American Worker Holiday Relief Act would: 

  • Extend the $600 weekly federal boost to unemployment insurance benefits through October 2021, as well as tie the additional weeks of federal benefits and new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for gig and freelance workers to economic conditions on the ground. The additional weeks of federal benefits and the program for gig and freelance workers would not expire as long as the three-month average national unemployment rate is above 5.5 percent, and will stay available longer in states where unemployment remains high. 
  • Add 26 weeks of federal benefits for workers receiving traditional unemployment insurance. An additional 13 weeks of benefits would be added for each percentage point a state’s unemployment rate rises above 5.5 percent, up to a maximum of 78 weeks when a state’s unemployment rate is above 8.5 percent.
  • Extend the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program in every state until the state’s three-month average total unemployment rate and the national three-month average total unemployment rate are below 5.5 percent. 
  • Allows mixed-income workers earning both W-2 wages and 1099 income as an independent contractor to access Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) similar to the Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act of 2020.