WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today highlighted the disparate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women and mothers in Illinois and across the country.

“Some economists have another name for the recession caused by the COVID pandemic. They call it a ‘she-cession’ because the economic hardships and jobs losses have fallen disproportionately on women, especially working mothers…2.5 million American women have dropped out or were pushed out of the workforce since the start of this pandemic,” Durbin said. “For millions of American mothers and their families, the stimulus payments, enhanced unemployment checks, increased child tax credits, and other economic benefits in the American Rescue Plan have literally been a lifeline. It has enabled them to feed their families and keep their homes during this worst recession since the Great Depression.”

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Durbin also slammed Republicans for vowing to get rid of enhanced unemployment benefits as the country continues to recover from the pandemic. Durbin pushed back against Republican claims that the April Jobs Report is evidence that the country must stop providing enhanced unemployment benefits to workers still out of a job through no fault of their own.

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“They seem to think that the additional unemployment benefits make American workers lazy. They imply that Americans would rather sit at home, watch nonstop Netflix, and eat chocolate covered cherries rather than go back to work. They must not know many American workers. Americans want to work,” Durbin continued. “People remain afraid of this virus, lack adequate, affordable child care, and may be caring for older family members or dealing with a personal health conditions… The truth is, [Republicans] think the federal government ought to do the bare minimum to help working families weather this pandemic. That’s their credo: Government isn’t the solution, government is the problem—even during a once-in-a-century public health crisis.”

Lastly, Durbin concluded by discussing the importance of investing in America for the 21st century and how President Biden’s American Jobs Plan enables workers and businesses to prepare for the future.

“We need to work together to invest in workers and families for the 21st century, not grind Congress to a halt as some might prefer. The American Jobs Plan…will help reduce barriers for entry to many workers. It will direct billions of dollars towards helping dislocated workers develop new skills, secure a stable, well-paying job [by] building wind turbines or electric vehicles or making other American made goods that will be in high demand in the years to come,” Durbin said. “We can keep good jobs in America and build industries that have a future if we're ready to invest in American families. I hope Republicans will not say, ‘Let's go slow, let's be satisfied with second. You know, maybe we just can't compete with some other countries in the world.’ I don't buy it. If we believe in America and its workers, we need to invest in them and their future. It's time to think bigger. It's time to believe that this country has a future which is going to be bright if we come together and do our job to stand by working families.”

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