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Central, South Coast Residents Jobless Because Of Coronavirus Look To Congress For More Help


Like many of us on the Central and South Coasts, Tara Zanecki has been counting pennies since the start of the coronavirus crisis.  The Santa Barbara woman works in the hospitality industry, and found herself unemployed.  She says the weekly $600 federal subsidy to unemployment was a lifesaver.

But, the federal subsidy has ended.  The U.S. Labor Department reports that the average unemployed American was receiving $321 in assistance a week.  The $600 brought it to $921 a week.  Now, it’s down to $321. 

Will there be more federal relief?  And, also up in the air is one of the other big moves by federal government, the $1200 federal stimulus checks.  There’s been a lot of talk about a second round of checks, but nothing has been decided.

A longtime political science professor on the South Coasts believes more federal help is on the way, even though Democrats and Republicans are haggling over what it would include.

Dr. Herb Gooch was the chairman of Cal Lutheran’s Political Science Department.  Gooch thinks another round of stimulus checks is likely, but says the amounts, and rules surrounding who gets them may not be the same.

The longtime political observer says Republicans have a major issue on their agenda for their new relief package which isn’t getting as much attention as other ideas.  He says they are pushing to include legislation which would protect businesses against lawsuits by employees for coronavirus related illnesses.

Gooch says one of the Democrats major priorities is a huge infusion of money for schools.

Zanecki is now back at work, but she says she’s nervous.  With tourism off, she just found out she’s going from full time, to part time.  She’s grateful for the work she’s getting, when some of her friends haven’t been working at all. 

But, many people who normally aren’t interested in politics at all will be actually paying attention to Washington, D.C. this week, to see what kind of new relief plan, if any, gets hammered out by Democrats and Republicans.