CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – There was a noisy, but peaceful protest outside the Charleston offices of U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito today. Demonstrators demanded Congress pass another round of COVID-19 relief, including stimulus checks for all, before they take up a Supreme Court debate and vote.
“My big concern is that people are struggling right now, and people need help. There’s people in positions of power that can help us, and they should use their power to do that,” Hunter Starks, West Virginia Citizens Action.
Meanwhile, outside the offices of WorkForce West Virginia, one woman stopped by in hopes of getting help for her unemployed brother.
“He hasn’t been able to work, and now he’s where he can go back to work and now this COVID stuff has really got him down. And his wife is disabled and partially blind, so I’m trying to help him,” said Julie Smith, who is helping her unemployed brother.
Unemployment benefits for many, especially the federal supplements, have run out. Congress is trying to renew them with many Democrats favoring a $600 per week payment, with Republicans favoring $400. The two sides are not currently negotiating, even though the election is 40 days away.
“And I think $1.5 trillion is going to be the mark we can probably workaround. You had a bipartisan group in the House that put something forward. We’ve looked at that. We think it’s something we can all talk about if we can get our Republican friends back to the table,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, (D) West Virginia.
Right now 75,000 West Virginians are receiving unemployment benefits. The state unemployment rate dropped again in August, to 8.9 percent.
“State officials tell me they would like to provide more benefits, especially for the unemployed. But at this point the funding is strictly up to Congress,” said Mark Curtis, 59 News Chief Political Reporter.