Congress far apart on relief package as cutoffs for federal job aid loom — 10/15/20

A roundup of top news and information about Wisconsin’s response to the coronavirus

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Today we highlight a POLITICO story about the devastating consequences if Congress fails to pass a fresh economic relief package in the coming months of the pandemic: Millions of jobless Americans are set to lose their unemployment benefits by the end of the year. 

“The U.S. is inching closer to a Dec. 31 deadline when several key federal jobless aid programs created under the March CARES Act will be cut off entirely,” Eleanor Mueller and Rebecca Rainey report. “If the government doesn’t pass legislation, more than half of those receiving unemployment benefits — about 13.4 million people — stand to be left with no income.”

The Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-controlled remain far apart in the negotiations, the reporters note, and President Donald Trump is sending conflicting signals about his stance ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Top Stories

Peter Thomson / La Crosse Tribune

Western Technical College student Emery Thompson has his temperature taken by human resources department employee Jackie Kettner before entering the bookstore.

Millions of workers face jobless benefits cliff with lifeline set to expirePOLITICO 

Wisconsin DPI records a 3% drop in public school enrollment amid COVID-19 pandemicWisconsin State Journal 

Coronavirus sickens over 1,000 Wisconsin inmates: “We are seeing the consequences of not acting”CBS News 

New day, new rules: Frequent changes wear on Wisconsin restaurants, barsGreen Bay Press-Gazette 

Chippewa health director: Too many COVID-19 cases to keep up with contact tracingChippewa Herald

Republican leaders refuse to join call for federal PPE support, Democratic senators allegeWTMJ-TV

Racine’s public health administrator urges virtual learning in second quarter of 2020Journal Times 

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“They sold us out, that’s where the stress comes in … We all feel nervous and numb and exhausted.”

— UW Hospital nurse Tami Burns, speaking to the Appleton Post-Crescent about how Republican lawmakers weakened protections for first responders in the state’s coronavirus relief legislation months before the current virus outbreaks

Food access trouble?

We know that when classes are virtual, many Wisconsin students and families lose access to food schools provide. And as the school year starts, some meal sites are closing. Share your experience with News414, Wisconsin Watch’s service journalism collaboration with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Outlier Media. Click here for details.

You can also view a list of Milwaukee-area food distribution sites for students here.

Data to note

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Thursday reported the state set a daily record for new confirmed COVID-19 cases, 3,747. DHS also reported 17 additional deaths linked to COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 1,553 confirmed COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic. 

The state’s rate of total positive tests continues to spike as the virus keeps spreading, with a seven-day average at 10.6% as of Thursday. 
Here are visualizations of trends in cases and deaths from our partners at WisContext.

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us:

Unified saves close to half million dollars in energy costs due to pandemic closures Kenosha News

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