Economy

GOP Mulls Reduced Unemployment Benefit

The GOP is considering a reduced level of extra unemployment benefits through the end of the year, with only $100 extra per week as opposed to the current $600 per week, to help offset pandemic-related woes, CNBC reported.

Though nothing is set in stone, a previous GOP idea was a $200 per month unemployment boost.

Either option would mark a significant cut to the benefits afforded to the unemployed at a time when the coronavirus is still raging and around 30 million Americans have been relying on unemployment benefits, according to the report.

Democrats, by contrast, hope to keep the $600 per week enhanced unemployment benefit going at least into next year.

The benefits of an extra $600 per week, or $2,400 per month, were passed in March as a way to offset the massive job losses that occurred due to the coronavirus as it rapidly hit the U.S. The policy is set to expire at the end of July. The unemployment rate is still high at 11 percent, though it has come down from over 14 percent as it was in April.

The friction on this issue is holding up the next stimulus package, which has seen some Republicans and the White House pushing for an incentive for people to return to work rather than stay unemployed, the logic being that some workers have made more money on the unemployment benefits than they did at their former jobs.

With the July deadline for the program approaching, Republicans are considering a short-term extension of the extra benefits, which Democrats are not likely to support. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, told CNBC that Republicans "have had months to propose a plan for extending supercharged unemployment benefits, and they still have nothing to offer."

Other issues that are dividing the two parties on the next stimulus bill include the direct checks to individuals, how to reopen schools, rent and mortgage aid and liability protections for doctors and businesses, according to the network.

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