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The $600 Federal weekly Unemployment Payments ends July 31; Republican Senators wants it to expire but Democrats in House have passed an Extension Bill

by Paul Oranika about a year ago in finance

Over 21 million Americans are collecting the $600 weekly unemployment payments from the federal government in addition to state unemployment payment. The Democrats have already passed a bill in the House to continue the weekly $600 payments in light of the resurging coronavirus pandemic in many states, but Republican Senators say enough is enough.

Unemployment line

The unemployment benefits provided to anyone out of work because of Coronavirus Pandemic is ending last day of July, 2020. But with the resurgence of Coronavirus across the United States, there is a possibility that the unemployment payments may continue if Democrats have their way. Over 21 million Americans are collecting the $600 weekly payments from the federal government in addition to state unemployment payment.

Democrats have already passed a bill in the House mandating the weekly $600 payments to continue in light of the resurging coronavirus pandemic. About 37 states in the United States are witnessing growing cases of COVID-19. In light of this, Democrats say it is not the time to stop the payments which has been very helpful to Americans in meeting their mortgage, rent and utility payments during this unprecedented business shutdowns, resulting from Coronavirus pandemic.

The Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky said “Unemployment is extremely important. We want the program to still be available for the employees who are unable to recover their jobs.” He added, "That is a different issue from whether we ought to pay people a bonus not to go back to work. And so I think that was a mistake."

McConnell also said, “We're hearing it all over the country, that it’s made it harder actually to get people back to work, but to have the basic protections of unemployment insurance is extremely important and should be continued." He did not discuss any details of what the Senate Republicans would propose when Unemployment benefits ends in July .

NBC News interviewed 12 Republican Senators on this matter and they are all opposed to the idea of extending the $600 weekly payments. The senators also echoed what the Speaker McConnell said earlier that the payments are motivating American workers not to go back to work particularly those workers making less than or near $600 per week.

Another Republican Senator, Pat Roberts from the state of Kansas, one of the senior members of the Senate Finance Committee, said the weekly $600 payment is "a disincentive to work — to come back to work." He also said that the current level of unemployment benefits, “certainly does not have the backing that it had before, because of many small businesses that have come forward and said that people just don’t want to come back — that they were making more than they did when they worked," he added.

Many Americans are out of work

Senator Roberts nevertheless left the door open because according to him the U.S is in reverse gear once more with regards to the Coronavirus pandemic and this problem has once more impacted the economic re-opening plans. Many companies have put on hold their re-opening plans in many of the states; suggesting further that the politics of the matter may change by the end of July.

A report by the Congressional Budget Office, a bipartisan group, illustrates that extending the CARES Act through Jan 2021, "Roughly five of every six recipients would receive benefits that exceeded the weekly amounts they could expect to earn from work during those six months."

On the other hand, the report also noted that extending the unemployment payment duration to January 2021 will ultimately boost the U.S economic output during the second half of 2020.

The Senate Democrats are persuading their Republican colleagues to vote for the extension of the unemployment payment which they described as a crucial lifeline of support to millions of out-of-work citizens.

Democrats also argue that, "The $600 boost to benefits has been vital in maintaining consumer demand. Workers who are unemployed are still able to pay the rent and buy groceries, which is propping up the economy,"

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Paul Oranika

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