'Several People Broke Down Crying in Phone Interviews'

'Washington Post' interviews those on brink of losing jobless aid or their businesses
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 25, 2020 11:31 AM CST
'Several People Broke Down Crying in Phone Interviews'
In this March 13, 2020, file photo, unionized hospitality workers wait in line in a basement garage to apply for unemployment benefits at the Hospitality Training Academy in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

It's a rough read for Christmas Day. But the Washington Post interviews 10 people pushed to the financial brink because of the pandemic who can't understand why Congress and the White House haven't been able to agree on a relief package. "Several people broke down crying in phone interviews," write Heather Long and Rachel Siegel. The interviewees don't care so much about the politics of the situation—some aren't happy with President Trump while others blame Nancy Pelosi over the current impasse. But with 14 million Americans scheduled to lose unemployment aid on Saturday and others about to lose eviction protection at the end of the month, they can't fathom why the nation's political leaders can't figure something out in a time of crisis. Some samples:

  • “I wish they would put themselves—the White House and Congress and everybody else making these decisions—in the shoes of us, the normal working people, who need help due to no fault of our own,” says Stephanie Lott, 30, who lost her job as a substitute teacher. “I’m asking to be able to keep my apartment. To be able to live, and not live on the street. I’m not asking to be put in a golden apartment or anything. I just want to be able to live.”
  • "I often go a day on one or two packets of ramen," says Ary Reich, a recent college graduate who lost his job at a nonprofit in the pandemic. "If it weren’t for my roommate, who is similarly on [unemployment Insurance], splitting rent and utilities with me, I would be destitute right now without a place to live.”
(Read the full story.)

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