$600 unemployment benefits expire today with no replacement in sight

$600 unemployment benefits expire today with no replacement in sight
Posted at 7:35 AM, Jul 31, 2020

Friday marks the final day of increased unemployment benefits passed under the CARES Act — and while millions of Americans are seeking unemployment insurance each week, it will likely be several weeks before lawmakers agree on a replacement.

Republicans and Democrats remain far apart in negotiations to extend benefits, despite President Donald Trump's offer on Thursday to sign a short-term extension of the $600 unemployment benefits.

“We want a temporary extension of enhanced unemployment benefits,” Trump said at the White House. “This will provide a critical bridge for Americans who lost their jobs to the pandemic through no fault of their own.”

However, Democrats rejected Trump's proposal, instead opting to try and pass a more comprehensive bill that would include more stimulus.

Earlier this week, Republicans — who are currently broken into groups of more moderate members and deficit hawks — proposed a $1 trillion stimulus plan that would keep increased benefits, but cut them by more than half to $200 a week. The benefits would only last for a few months before states would be required to set up their own unemployment programs.

Democrats, on the other hand, favor a $3 trillion stimulus plan, which passed through the House in May. The bill would keep $600 a week unemployment benefits through the end of the year and extend them to gig workers and self-employed people who are out of work.

Republicans claim the unemployment benefits incentivize people not to work. Democrats argue that the government must subsidize those at-risk people who feel they cannot work for fear of contracting the virus.