Senate Democrats offer plan to extend unemployment benefits during pandemic

Senate Democrats unveiled legislation Wednesday to extend a generous federal increase in weekly unemployment benefits that would continue as the coronavirus pandemic strikes the economy.

The American Workforce Rescue Act, introduced by the Democratic leader of the Senate Charles SchumerChuck Schumer: Night Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon properties | DOD Report Says Russia Works to Accelerate US Withdrawal from Afghanistan | Gang of Eight to Receive Information on Rewards on Thursday Top Intelligence Officials to Report to Gang of Eight on Thursday More than 1,700 Veterans Call on Senate to Pass State Law MORE (NY) and rank member of the Senate Finance Committee Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee Wyden The Hill Report at 12:30 PM: Democratic Proposal to Extend 0 Unemployment Controls Senate Democrats Offer Plan to Extend Unemployment Benefits During the Hillicon Valley Pandemic: Facebook Knocks Down ‘Boogaloo’ Network after pressure | Electoral security measure extracted from the Senate bill | The FCC officially names Huawei and ZTE as MORE threats (D-Ore.), Would extend the $ 600 federal increase in weekly unemployment benefits beyond July 31, when the current federal benefit improvement expires.

That initial federal push for weekly state unemployment benefits was included in the CARES Act enacted in late March, but has come under heavy criticism from Republicans, who say the benefit is so generous that it has created a disincentive to return workers to low- and middle-income jobs.

The Schumer-Wyden proposal would extend the $ 600 increase in weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefits on July 31 until a time when a state’s three-month average total unemployment rate falls below 11 percent .

The federal benefit would drop from $ 600 a week by $ 100 for each percentage point decrease in the state’s unemployment rate, until that rate falls below 6 percent, according to a summary of the proposal provided by its offices. .

For example, people who are out of work in a state with an unemployment rate of 10-11 percent would receive a weekly federal benefit improvement of $ 500 under the proposal, and people in a state with an unemployment rate between 9 and 10 percent would receive $ 400 per week.

“If we don’t renew the $ 600 per week increase in UI, millions of American families will have their legs cut off at the worst possible time, in the midst of a pandemic when unemployment is higher than it has been since the Great Depression, “Schumer said in a statement Wednesday.

Almost all states currently have an unemployment rate of over 8 percent, while many have double digits. Federal Reserve officials predicted last month that the national unemployment rate would remain above 9 percent through the end of 2020.

Senate Republicans are uniting around a Senator-sponsored plan. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones Portman 12:30 The Hill Report: Democratic Proposal to Issue 0 Unemployment Checks Senate Democrats offer plan to extend additional unemployment benefits during pandemic Senators pressure IRS chief on stimulus controls difficulties MORE (R-Ohio), by contrast, will provide a $ 450 per week bonus to people who leave unemployment lists and return to work, but Schumer says that won’t help people who can’t return to their old jobs or find new ones.

“The return to work bonus pays people who are working. What about people who are unemployed and cannot return to work? I do not understand, it is illogical. If unemployment insurance is supposed to be an unemployed person, the return to work bonus does not solve that problem, ”Schumer said Tuesday.

“We need [a] generous unemployment benefit during this time, “he added.

The Senate Democratic plan would also expand the pandemic emergency unemployment compensation program through March 27 and remain available until a state’s unemployment rate falls below 5.5 percent.

The pandemic unemployment compensation program provides up to 13 weeks of additional benefits to people who have exhausted their state and federal unemployment benefits.

If a state’s unemployment rate exceeds 8.5 percent, jobless people in those states are eligible to receive up to 52 weeks of emergency pandemic unemployment compensation.

Workers laid off in a state with an unemployment rate of between 7.5 and 8.5 percent are eligible for 39 weeks of additional compensation.

People in states with an unemployment rate that falls between 6.5 percent and 7.5 percent would receive a total of 26 weeks of pandemic emergency unemployment compensation, and those in states with an unemployment rate between 5.5 percent and 6.5 percent could get 13 weeks of additional benefits.

“In the face of the explosion of outbreaks and unprecedented economic pain, it would be outrageous to allow supercharged unemployment benefits to expire in a month. Supercharged unemployment benefits must be extended and linked to economic conditions on the ground, ”Wyden said in a statement.