Senate Democrats Struggle With Unemployment Benefits In Biden’s Covid Relief Plan


He said in an interview that he is concerned that increased benefits could make it difficult for employees to return to their workplaces, and that by the summer “there should be doors that open, ready to go.” But Democratic leaders are still not convinced of the change.

“They call it targeting, which means the total sum may not change, but your allocation can,” said Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “I don’t agree with them on the unemployment part.” Durbin said “a narrower target of the aid bill’s stimulus controls is being discussed.”

Democrats don’t have much time to fight for the massive Covid measure, and the debate will begin on Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promises to send the bill to Biden’s desk by March 14, when federal unemployment benefits will expire. The previous coronavirus aid package, which Congress approved in December, allocated an additional $ 300 in weekly unemployment benefits to help with recovery from the pandemic.

A group of moderate Senate Democrats spoke with Biden on Monday about the coronavirus aid package, and the president is scheduled to speak with the entire Democratic group Tuesday during their virtual lunch. Whether the centrists get the desired changes may depend on Biden’s conversation with the caucus.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Said that “the president believes, I believe, that the supplement should be $ 400.” But Manchin said he didn’t recall Biden taking a hard line, saying “Joe is in a difficult position because he has people hitting him across the board.”

“He’s more inclined to let the process work,” Manchin said of Biden’s reliance on Senate Democrats to figure it out.

The US Chamber of Commerce Supports Initiative to Reduce Biden’s Bill. “We need Congress to adopt the right policy with very specific help to those most in need,” Neil Bradley, the House’s executive vice president and policy director, said in a statement. “As currently drafted, the American Rescue Plan fails the test.”

Senate Democrats said Monday night that they will need to make changes to the version of coronavirus relief legislation that the House passed last week. That package included a provision that would raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2025, which the Senate MP has said would violate House rules if it remains in legislation.

“My guess is that it’s probably going to change, but quite modestly. That would be my guess, ”Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) Said Monday night.

The Senate MP separately ruled Monday night that Democrats can keep health benefits in the bill to help laid off workers stay on their former employers’ health insurance. Democrats have drafted multiple versions of the bill to comply with Senate rules. Nothing has yet been finalized before the Senate debate.

Democrats are heading fast for a marathon voting session on the coronavirus package as early as Thursday. Any senator can offer an amendment to the bill in what is likely to become an all-night affair in the Senate.

Once the Senate bill passes, the House will need to retake it with the changes approved by the Senate before Congress can send the legislation to Biden’s desk.

“There really isn’t much controversy about the overall size of the bill,” Senator Angus King (I-Maine) said Monday. “The question is whether it can be approached in such a way that it better serves the people who need it most and perhaps free up funds for other priorities.

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