As COVID unemployment benefits come to end later this month, the US Senate is in debate with the White House about what the next round of federal funding will look like. A decision concerning virus-testing funds was agreed upon, but there has been much dispute over the remainder of the $1 trillion in funding. Currently, 17.8 million Americans are said to still be unemployed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they are working on a plan to present to the Democrat-run House of Representatives who presented a $3 trillion plan in May.


    Among other Republicans, McConnell is in support of a second round of direct payments to American households, but Trump prefers and is pushing for payroll tax cuts instead. Regarding unemployment benefits, one senator noted that there would likely be an extension until a plan is determined:

    “We cannot allow there to be a cliff in unemployment insurance given we’re still at about 11% unemployment.”

    Rob Portman, Ohio State Senator

    A Hot Air article suggests that Republicans should offer an unemployment plan which gives “up to a maximum of 85% of the employee’s previous wages.” Angela Rachidi with the American Enterprise Institute called the House Democrats’ plan “an excuse to expand safety net programs” which she writes, “discourage employment, reducing the chance that a low-income person can work their way up the economic ladder and enjoy the protection of economic security.”


    The Left is pushing for extended amped-up unemployment benefits that phase out as the economy improves. They argue that Republicans’ measures to get people back to work are futile amid the nation’s current virus conditions and refute the notion that high unemployment benefits will keep people from returning to work once businesses do open. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) stated, “We are just days away from a housing crisis that could be prevented,” criticizing Senate Republicans for their snail’s pace. The Nation‘s Robert L. Borosage wrote that if businesses were to open, strict and specific federal safety guidelines are needed, businesses should be reimbursed for the cost of complying to new regulations, and those who do go back to work should be given hazard pay – as well as free universal childcare and an extended pause for rent and mortgage payments.

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