Congressman Steven Horsford Introduces Unemployment Insurance Legislation to Quell Coronavirus Economic Impact

March 12, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, Wednesday, March 11, Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04) introduced H.R. 6199, the Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020, to ensure that states can provide earned benefits to those who lose their jobs or are furloughed because of the spread of coronavirus. This legislation would secure $5 million in assistance for Nevada immediately, with another $5 million and 100 percent funding for extended benefits if the state sees very significant job loss. 

“Right now, people across the country are concerned about the spread of coronavirus, which has very real implications for families, including lay-offs and loss of jobs. In Nevada, fears about the coronavirus have begun to impact the livelihoods of those working in the service industry as travelers reevaluate their vacation plans. No family should have to worry about both their physical health and their financial health at the same time,” Congressman Horsford, a founding member of the Coronavirus Travel and Tourism Task Force,  said. “With this bill, I hope to provide emergency support to Nevadans and all Americans suffering from job loss and economic uncertainty spurred by the spread of coronavirus. My bill provides economic security to states across the country as they struggle to provide necessary benefits to workers facing coronavirus-related job loss.”

H.R. 6199 is part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a larger package that includes free coronavirus testing, paid emergency leave for workers, food security assistance, and help for states overburdened by Medicaid costs. 

In Las Vegas, which receives roughly 42 million visitors a year, dozens of major conferences, concerts and events have now been postponed or canceled. Many Nevadans rely on continued travel and tourism for employment opportunities. 

All across the country, states are seeing a spike in unemployment, with hundreds suffering from job loss due to coronavirus. With this legislation, Congress will provide states with resources and flexibility to provide unemployment benefits to laid-off and furloughed workers, as well as those who exhaust paid leave. 

This legislation would also provide additional funding to help the hardest-hit states if the situation worsens. In exchange for that additional support, states must guarantee that they will provide full access to unemployment benefits to all workers who are eligible and ease access for those dealing with the impacts of coronavirus.

Specifically, the legislation would: 

  • Quickly provide all states with a one-time emergency administration grant for unemployment insurance (UI) to fund staffing, information technology, and other costs related to administering UI, so long as they ensure workers who lose their job get notice of the availability of these earned benefits from their employer and can access and navigate the UI system.
  • States who experience a sharp increase in UI claims could get an additional one-time grant if they commit to temporarily easing eligibility requirements and access to UI for claimants (including waiving work search requirements and the waiting week and relieve UI benefit charging on employers who are directly impacted by COVID-19). 
  • The bill also temporarily relaxes federal rules which might make it harder for states to take those actions to improve access. 
  • The total amount of these emergency grants available to all states is $1 billion — $500 million for immediate grants, and $500 million reserved for grants to hard-hit states that qualify.
  • For those hard-hit states, the bill also temporarily provides full federal financing of Extended Benefits, rather than requiring 50 percent state financing, and it waives interest on loans states may need to take for their UI program.