U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) wants federal officials to continue sending $600 a week to unemployed people.
Cohen also wants more people in Memphis to fill out their 2020 Census forms — so that city residents can continue to qualify for the same amount of government benefits they’re already getting.
Cohen said this to the Memphis-based WATN this week.
“I think it’s better if we compromise to make sure first the $600 is there on unemployment as we get the money there to people who are out of jobs, and the $1,200 goes to everybody with jobs or out of jobs,” Cohen told the station.
As The Tennessee Star reported this week, U.S. President Donald Trump cut the enhanced federal unemployment benefit from $600 a week to $400 a week after Democrats in the House failed to make a deal with the Republican-controlled Senate on the matter.
Trump signed four executive orders on Saturday, one of which lowers the enhanced unemployment benefit by a third through the end of the year, with states required to contribute $100. Unemployed Americans originally received $600 per week through the CARES Act, which expired July 31.
Cohen also told WATN that only 60 percent of people in Shelby County have submitted their Census forms.
“This means a lot of money to Shelby County, to Tennessee, in terms of what we get in terms of Medicaid, SNAP payments, all kinds of federal funds, TANF funds. They are distributed based on your population,” Cohen said.
“And if our people don’t sign up in the numbers that represent our community we will lose out on federal funds.”
As The Tennessee Star reported in June, Cohen announced the feds would send more than $100,000 of taxpayer money to the University of Memphis to study how COVID-19 affects employee morale.
As reported in April, Cohen announced that as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the already publicly-funded Memphis Area Transit Authority would receive nearly $36 million in taxpayer money. MATA is Memphis’ public transportation provider. Members of the Federal Transit Administration disbursed that money.
Also in April, Cohen held a Coronavirus Town Hall where he touted mail-in voting and warned that Russians are in America putting out misinformation about COVID-19. Cohen warned that Russians are trying to make Americans believe Pentagon staff caused or created COVID-19.
Later that month, Cohen announced that the feds would send the Memphis International Airport nearly $25 million in COVID-19 relief money — even though the facility had struggled for years because far fewer people use it.
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