The Biden administration said in a letter to lawmakers Thursday that it’s “appropriate” for expanded unemployment benefits to expire as scheduled in a little more than two weeks, but that states and local governments can use pandemic-relief funds for added help beyond the deadline amid the surge of the delta variant.
“There are some states where it may make sense for unemployed workers to continue receiving additional assistance for a longer period of time, allowing residents of those states more time to find a job in areas where unemployment remains high,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh wrote. “The delta variant may also pose short-term challenges to local economies and labor markets.”
The White House came under fire from Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill late last month when it requested that Congress pass an extension of an eviction moratorium just days before it expired. Congress didn’t do so, and the White House couldn’t put off the expiration unilaterally due to a Supreme Court ruling. Instead, the administration scrambled to write a new moratorium that covered fewer renters and homeowners.