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Protesters Gather In Front Of Sen. Ted Cruz Office In Dallas Over Losing $600 Unemployment Benefit

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Jobless restaurant workers are rallying around the U.S. Thursday in protest of the elimination of the extra $600 unemployment benefit.

Starting this week, those on unemployment are seeing a much smaller check, as the added $600 federal benefit on top of the state benefit is now gone.

Many unemployed restaurant workers say this will result in more evictions, more poverty and a downturn in economic spending.

On Thursday afternoon, a group of these workers held a rally in front of Sen. Ted Cruz's office in Dallas.

Democrats are pushing for an extension of the $600 benefits through the end of the year, and, while most Republicans are on board with extending the payment, Republicans are proposing reducing the amount from $600 a week to $200 a week.

Here's a breakdown of what each party's proposal for jobless aid would mean for an unemployed Texan who lost a job making $30,000:

  • Under the HEROES Act, passed by House Democrats, that unemployed worker would receive $875 a week through January 2021 ($275 from Texas, $600 from federal).
  • Under the HEALS Act, passed by Senate Republicans, that same unemployed worker would receive $475 a week until October and then benefits would be adjusted to 70% of their prior salary.

Republicans contend $600 is too much and has kept people from returning to work.

"It's just absolutely not true. There have been studies that have come out saying it's not de-incentivize people. But my response is people should have a choice to go back to work, especially during a pandemic, as it's still unsafe to be out there," said Ivy Vance, an unemployed restaurant worker.

Vance said with the extra $600 benefit her employment benefit was slightly more than what she was making when she was working at a restaurant but says that is not what's keeping her from returning to work.

Without any additional benefit, the average unemployed U.S. worker right now is receiving $300 a week.

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