Congress still without a deal on COVID-19 aid package, including unemployment benefit extension

There is still no deal in place from Congress to extend benefits that expire Friday to roughly 30 million Americans, and Long Island residents are among many who will see their incomes plunge dramatically.
Senate Republicans and the Trump administration are working on a temporary extension of the expanded unemployment insurance. Both sides of the aisle agree funding is needed, but can't agree on how to move forward.
For several months, Americans on unemployment have been getting an additional $600 weekly payment, but that extra benefit expires Friday.
The Republicans did present a $1 trillion proposal, offering a second round of direct $1,200 payments to most Americans, as well as another Paycheck Protection Program with loans meant to keep small businesses afloat.
But when it comes to the extra $600 weekly benefit, the Republican plan would cut that to $200, possibly meaning more hardship for out-of-work Americans.
Economic analyst Martin Cantor disagrees, saying the larger benefit gave some people an incentive not to work and that it needs to change if the economy is going to move forward.
Joe Fortuna, who runs the Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale, says he still needs workers, but with the extra benefits ending, he is seeing more people seeking jobs.
"In the past week we received numerous phone calls and applications of people looking for work," he says.
Single mom Brielle Bratton from West Hempstead says she's bracing for tough times ahead, now that the extra unemployment benefit is ending. She was an office manager pre-pandemic, and says she still can't find a job.
"That was a cushion to make sure whatever needed to be done, could be done, and money wasn't something I had to worry about," she says.
The Republican plan also allocates funding for K-12 schools, but does not provide relief payments to struggling state and local governments, which will likely be a sticking point for Democrats as negotiations move forward.