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Congress should act on COVID-19 aid

Partisan politics continues to delay enactment of a new coronavirus relief measure in Congress. Regardless of your political leanings, that is hurting millions of Americans.

Even emergency action taken by the White House has been affected. After negotiators in Congress deadlocked over a new relief bill last month, President Donald Trump authorized release of some money to keep augmented unemployment benefits flowing to those who have been laid off due to the epidemic-related business slowdown.

Under the White House plan, those who qualify can receive $300 a week in addition to normal unemployment benefits. But there is a catch: They also must be receiving at least $100 a week in aid paid for by the states where they live.

While some states have been able to ensure that the $100 level is met, others have not. For low-wage workers who do not qualify for $100 or more in state benefits, that means no $300 from Washington.

Obviously, then, some states need additional federal support for unemployment compensation programs. It could be included in a new federal relief package.

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