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“The Dumbest Idea Ever”: Senate Republicans Let Unemployment Relief Expire & Push Massive Cuts As Millions Remain Unemployed

DSCC spokesperson Stewart Boss issued the following statement on the new report that jobless claims rose again this week while Republicans in the Senate proposed gutting the emergency unemployment relief that they already let expire this past weekend:

“Last week as more than 1.4 million Americans filed new jobless claims so they can feed their families and pay their bills, Senate Republicans let that emergency unemployment aid run out. When the corporate special interests wanted a massive permanent tax giveaway, Mitch McConnell and the GOP majority didn’t stop until it was done — but now that hardworking families need a lifeline, Senate Republicans have shown no urgency and instead are working to cut unemployment relief. There’s no agreement in sight, but GOP senators are getting ready to take yet another long weekend. In a few months, voters will give them all the time off they want.”

Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans spent months refusing to work on additional coronavirus relief, wasted weeks bickering among themselves, and then waited until the last minute to unveil an unemployment proposal that would cut payments and is so complicated it “would take months for some states to implement.” Now millions of Americans are about to lose the support that has helped keep them afloat during this crisis, and the Republicans lapse on emergency unemployment relief is threatening to “rattle the entire economy.” The GOP proposal is so complicated that even Republicans have “little confidence” in it — in fact, Georgia’s Republican labor commissioner called the Senate GOP proposal “the dumbest idea ever.” 

HuffPost: Mitch McConnell Had Months To Act. Now Unemployment Benefits Are Expiring.

By Arthur Delaney and Igor Bobic

Key Points:

  • Millions of unemployed Americans received their final $600 unemployment payment from the federal government last weekend and things are not looking good for a continuation of the extra benefit past July.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are nowhere near a deal on the next bill to help the country stumble through the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • The House passed a bill preserving the expanded benefits two months ago, but McConnell waited until Monday to unveil a complicated proposal that would take months for some states to implement. Both unemployment proposals are small parts of legislative packages with many other areas of disagreement.
  • Even if Congress somehow passes a bill reauthorizing the $600 payments for a short period to allow time for lawmakers to reach a broader deal, it still could take weeks for the benefits to actually resume ― and such an interruption could have dire consequences.
  • More than 25 million Americans have been receiving the extra $600 a week on top of their state benefits. Without the federal supplement, the average benefit will shrink by 55%, according to the Century Foundation, resulting in such a steep collective income loss that economists worry it could rattle the entire economy.
  • To make matters worse, the benefit lapse is happening just after the expiration of a moratorium on evictions from federally subsidized properties, and right before the rent is due. 
  • The proposal unveiled by McConnell earlier this week would reduce the extra benefits from $600 per week to $200 per week until October, and then switch to a new formula so that total benefits don’t exceed 70% of what unemployed workers earned from their prior jobs. But even some Republicans have little confidence in that plan given the antiquated technology that states rely on to dispense unemployment benefits.
  • The National Association of State Workforce Agencies has practically begged Congress not to pass something complicated. Georgia’s Republican labor commissioner told Bloomberg Law this week that reducing the $600 payment for several weeks and then switching to a targeted wage replacement level is “the dumbest idea ever.” 

Read the full story here

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