South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and state Rep. Shevrin Jones held a virtual town hall on Friday to provide an update on the federal government’s efforts to address the coronavirus.
Wasserman Schultz, former head of the Democratic National Committee, sits on the House Appropriations Committee, and she says that a bill is still being worked on for those affected by the coronavirus.
More than 300,000 Floridians have filed for unemployment in the past two weeks, according to a reports by the Labor Department. The previous one-week record was 40,403, set in 2009.
The worst affected sectors are tourism, service, retail trade, manufacturing, wholesale trade, construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industries.
Governor Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday afternoon that the state of Florida is being shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Florida joins more than 30 states to be on a “stay at home” order.
“I just have to stress that we’re only at the beginning of feeling the full force of this crisis,” Wasserman Schultz said. “It’s going to get worse for us before it gets better here in Florida.”
Congress has approved multiple bills including direct payments to Americans. The payment would include $1,200 to most Americans.
However, Florida has been at the forefront for issues for residents not being able to apply for those benefits.
DeSantis rolled out an executive order to resolves issues with the unemployment claims system.
The governor directed “all executive agency heads, in consultation with the Department of Management Services, to identify and deploy executive agency personnel to assist DEO with its reemployment assistance efforts, including call center operations and other citizen services.”
Rep. Jones ensured that the Department of Economic Opportunity is working to fix the issue that has plagued thousands of people trying to sing up for unemployment.
“We are working with different elected officials when it comes to the department to ensure access,” Jones said.
According to Wasserman Schultz, the first group of payments will start April 13. However, the process is likely to last until September.
Tallahassee Congressman Al Lawson was contacted about recovery packages for college students but did not respond to the request.