Tuesday, June 15

Many Mainers fear the worst after political stalemate leads to end of unemployment bonus

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Congress ended the week without an agreement on a coronavirus aid package, leaving the economy without one key stimulus program and many Mainers wondering whether they will be able to pay rent or keep their businesses.

Friday marked the scheduled sunset of a $600 weekly federal unemployment bonus. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and two other Republicans tried to partially extend the benefit with a last-minute bill introduced Thursday, but it did not go anywhere. A new stimulus might also allow for businesses that already received a forgivable loan under the Paycheck Protection Program to get a second loan.

The stalemate comes at a time when jobless claims continue to be high nationwide and a decline in consumer spending dampens the economy. On Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated that the country’s gross domestic product, a measure of the value of goods and services, decreased at an annual rate of 32.9 percent from April to June.

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