Merkley: Cataclysmic Jobs Numbers Must Be an Urgent Wakeup Call

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Labor released the national jobs report for the month of April, showing catastrophic job losses across the nation:

“These shocking numbers need to be an urgent wakeup call for President Trump and Senator McConnell. Behind every one of these job losses is a family that could be struggling at this very moment to decide between paying rent, keeping the lights on, or putting food on the table—to say nothing of planning for the future. We need to make sure that the federal government is doing everything it can to keep these families afloat, not just bail out the wealthy and well-connected.

“The CARES Act and the subsequent interim package contained some critical lifelines for working families, but the scope of these job losses and the continuation of the public health crisis makes it clear that much, much more help is needed. We need an immediate moratorium on utility shut-offs, including internet; more assistance for small businesses; an increase in SNAP payments; help with COBRA insurance coverage; and aid to state and local governments so they aren’t forced to lay off millions more and cut critical programs for families.

“This is a moment for decisive leadership to meet this crisis, not politics as usual.  Yet at a moment when millions of American families are hanging on by a thread, the Majority Leader has the Senate working on right-wing court packing and other non-essential nominations. America already has far and away the most COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world, Americans are living through Great Depression-level economic collapse, frontline health workers still don’t have the testing and protective equipment they need, and in most of the country COVID-19 cases are still on the rise. 

“With 14.7% unemployment and thousands of Americans dying every single day, the need for leadership could not be more clear. And its absence could not be more consequential. It’s time for the Senate to stop delaying and get to work.”