WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – Senate Democrats introduced a plan to extend enhanced unemployment benefits which were passed this spring in reaction to mass unemployment caused by the pandemic. Those benefits, which include an extra weekly federal payment of $600 dollars, are scheduled to expire at the end of July.
Now, Democrats want to extend that $600 payment and link ending it to a state’s unemployment rate, not an arbitrary date. They propose extending the extra payment until a state’s unemployment rate drops below 6 percent.
Democratic senators argued the alternative would mean destitution for tens of millions without work.
Expanded unemployment benefits will be tied to the economy
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “At its core, this policy is basic common sense. When Americans truly need the benefits, the benefits will be there. And when the economy gets better those enhanced benefits will be reduced.”
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) said, “It would be an act of sabotage and I think unthinkable cruelty to slash these benefits and send all these jobless families into destitution.”
Some Republican senators say the expanded weekly payment gives many people an incentive not to work. Majority Leader Mitch Mcconnell on Tuesday called it “a mistake.”