NBC 6 South Florida: Group Caravans to Sen. Rick Scott’s Office to Demand Extension of Unemployment Benefits

Unemployed people, lawmakers and local unions joined together in a caravan Thursday to Sen. Rick Scott’s office in Miami to ask for his support in extending federal unemployment benefits.

The group is asking for an extension of the Federal Unemployment Benefits, which includes the additional $600 a week for people receiving state reemployment assistance. According to the CARES ACT, that benefit expires at the end of July.

James Jackson was laid off from the hospitality industry in March. He shared his experience with the state’s unemployment system at the caravan. 

“They issued me temporary pins knowing my claim is still locked,” Jackson said. 

State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, U.S. Congresswoman Donna Shalala, and other lawmakers spoke about the state’s current economic situation. 

“So many thousands of Floridians are going weeks and months lost in a black hole that is the unemployment system here in Florida,” Rodriguez said. 

They also called on Scott and  U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio to support a new bill that would extend federal benefits until each state’s economic condition improves. 

“Sen. Scott, we want our money back. These workers have been paying taxes for years,” Shalala said. 

In a statement, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio said, “The federal government’s efforts to get unemployment benefits to those who need them will remain even after the additional $600 benefit expires. As Congress negotiates the next relief package, we need to make sure that we are not unintentionally making it more difficult to safely reopen our economy, especially in areas of the country that are making real economic progress. We also recognize that many people still need assistance. That’s the balance that Congress will need to negotiate.”

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