Senate Republicans are proposing to cut unemployment jobless benefits to $ 200 a week from $ 600 until states can create a system that provides 70% of a laid-off worker’s previous salary, according to two people familiar with the plan.
The plan, which was agreed by the Trump administration, requires a two-month transition and then allows states to request a waiver for until Two additional months if they can’t implement the new calculation, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been released.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other high-ranking Republicans will launch a series of bills representing the $ 1 trillion Republican plan for a new viral stimulus package after the Senate meets. Monday at 4:30 pm in Washington, despite persistent divisions among fellow Republicans. That will mark the starting point for negotiations with Democrats, who have previously proposed a $ 3.5 billion package.
The expanded unemployment benefits that were part of the March bailout began to run out on Saturday, adding urgency to negotiations on the next round of aid. There are signs, including claims for unemployment benefits, that an incipient rebound in pandemic closings is stagnating. Congress only has two weeks for lawmakers to leave Washington for an August break.
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Most states experienced significant delays in processing current flat-rate fringe benefits as they grappled with an unprecedented avalanche of claims and outdated computer systems. The same technological hurdles may take time to implement the recalculation.
All states currently offer a salary replacement close to 50%. The federal government would come to make up the difference to bring a recipient’s salary until the 70% level once the transition is complete.
The unemployment insurance plan is sure to draw strong opposition from Democrats, who wanted to continue the $ 600 payment that was part of the economic rescue package approved in March through the end of the year.
They have argued that the system should be simple, but many Republicans, like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, say the $ 600 payments mean that some people make more profit than they earn on wages, making them reluctant to return. to their jobs.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the cuts at the $ 600 level and called on Monday to start negotiations on a bipartisan solution immediately after the Republican plan is presented in the Senate.
McConnell’s expected revelation comes after top Trump administration officials, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows spent much of last week struggling to resolve some of the differences with Republican lawmakers.
Meadows and Mnuchin were on Capitol Hill again Sunday to work on what Meadows said were the “finishing touches” on the package.
But the Republican Party is barely unified, and there is a world of difference from what the Democrats demand.
“Half of Republicans are going to vote no” on any additional stimulus, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Sunday on the Fox News Channel. “And many Democrats are going to insist on $ 3 trillion, which would be too much.”
McConnell said Friday that he expected Congress to pass something by “the end of the next few weeks.” Graham predicted that Congress would reach an agreement by the first week of August, and Mnuchin said negotiations can proceed “very quickly.” That and a September government funding bill are probably the last chances to act before the November election.
– With the assistance of Billy House, Laura Davison and Laura Litvan
(Updates with comments from legislators, schedule of talks starting in the seventh paragraph)