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Congresswoman Cori Bush Condemns Governor’s Decision to Deny Essential Benefits to Missouri Residents

May 11, 2021

ST. LOUIS, MO – Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) released a statement following Governor Mike Parson’s announcement that Missouri will withdraw from all six federal unemployment programs that continue to provide desperately needed relief to people in Missouri’s First District and across the state. 

Starting Saturday, June 12, Missourians will no longer have access to federally funded pandemic unemployment programs, including programs that provide an additional $300 weekly unemployment payments and extended unemployment benefits to individuals who are self-employed, part-time workers or gig workers. With the help of Congresswoman Cori Bush, these programs were recently extended to September 2021.

“The governor has consistently failed to meet the needs of Missourians since this pandemic began,” said Congresswoman Cori Bush. “He failed to address COVID-19 as infections rose. He failed to institute a mask mandate even though the science shows masks are effective in saving lives. He failed to equitably distribute the vaccine, abandoning Black and brown communities that have been hit hardest by this pandemic, from St. Louis to Kansas City. Every step of the way, Governor Parson has failed the people of Missouri—and today’s announcement is yet another massive failure that will put the lives and livelihoods of regular, everyday people at risk.

“The federal unemployment programs I helped secure through the American Rescue Plan have been an essential lifeline to our district. In St. Louis and across Missouri, these desperately needed resources are helping to keep our communities healthy, fed, and housed.

“As public officials, we have a duty to protect all of our communities and our number one priority must be saving lives. When I was unhoused, living out of a car with my two babies, I was working on a starvation wage. I know what it’s like to work 40, 50 or 60 hours a week and still not have enough to live. My story is not unique; it’s one shared by thousands across our state. We cannot blame federal unemployment benefits for worker shortages. The only way our economy, our region, and our country can heal from this pandemic is by treating workers with the respect and dignity they deserve, and that begins by paying them a living wage. 

“Put simply, today’s decision by Governor Parson is cruel. It will only serve to punish those most impacted by this pandemic and who need this relief the most. Too many lives have been devastated under the Governor’s watch. We cannot afford to lose one more life or livelihood because of his cruelty.”

Governor Parson’s announcement today applies to the following programs:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
  • Emergency Unemployment Relief for Government Entities and Nonprofit Organizations
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
  • 100 Percent Reimbursement of Short-Time Compensation Benefit Costs Paid Under State Law
  • Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation.

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Congresswoman Cori Bush represents Missouri’s First Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. She serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. She is also a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a proud member of the Congressional Black Caucus. She is a registered nurse, single mother, and an ordained pastor. Following the murder of Michael Brown Jr. by a now-terminated Ferguson police officer, she became a civil rights activist and community organizer fighting for justice for Black lives on the streets of Missouri and across the country.