In the present health and economic crisis, Maine Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins should support the extension of unemployment benefits and press Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the Democratic version to a vote.

The Republican senators’ criticism that the benefits are too generous, that they discourage workers from returning to their jobs, is evidence of their ignorance of the financial realities of families of low-wage Americans.

If Sen. McConnell were given the choice of having an income above the poverty line with the benefits and returning to his job, only to watch his family fall back into poverty without them, what would he choose?

He and other Republican senators, who have lived privileged, asset-rich lives, have no experience with living paycheck to paycheck, unable to save for emergencies, just one financial crisis like this one away from eviction. Their unfounded prejudice against the character of working people is clear.

The help that is part of the American Workforce Rescue Act is not a “bonus,” but a true lifeline for the more than 90,000 Mainers who are depending on them just to make ends meet in the dire circumstances we are all living through.

That financial support will be spread across the Maine economy as families use their buying power in their communities for their necessities. Plus, the drop in revenue that provide vital state services will be less.

I urge King and Collins to stand with Maine families who need continued assistance in this emergency.

Peg Hoffman, Lewiston

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