Lawmakers Unveil Plan to Extend $600 Weekly Unemployment Benefits

With enhanced unemployment benefits set to expire on July 31, Senate Democrats have unveiled a new plan to extend the payments for millions of Americans.

The legislation introduced by Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), would extend the $600 weekly benefits until an individual’s state sustains a three-month average unemployment rate below 11%, reported NBC News.

At that point, the $600 payments would decrease by $100 for every percentage point the state’s unemployment rate falls, until that rate is below 6%.

For example, recipients would get $500 per week if their state’s average unemployment rate falls between 10% and 11%. If it drops below 10%, the enhanced payments would decrease to $400 per week.

“If we fail to renew the $600 per week increase in UI, millions of American families will have their legs cut out from underneath them at the worst possible time—in the middle of a pandemic when unemployment is higher than it's been since the Great Depression,” Schumer said in a statement.

However, Senate Republicans have voiced opposition to continuing the enhanced unemployment benefits.

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has called extending the extra jobless benefits “a mistake,” he also said the Senate will consider taking up another coronavirus stimulus package after returning from their two-week recess in mid-July, reported CNBC.

The current enhanced unemployment insurance program, passed as part of the CARES Act in March, will expire on July 31.

In May, House Democrats passed another $3 trillion stimulus package, the HEROES Act, which has since stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Earlier this month, President Trump said the federal government is working on providing more relief for the millions of American affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

While Trump didn’t specify the amount that Americans can expect, he added that the relief bill would be “very generous.”

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