Jul 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate GOP to propose cutting weekly unemployment checks from $600 to $200

Mitch McConnell speaks at a podium.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images

Senate Republicans' coronavirus relief proposal will include a provision to cut federal weekly unemployment benefits from $600 to $200, the Washington Post reports, citing two people familiar with the plan.

How it works: The reduction would be a temporary measure in place until states implement a more targeted system that pays individuals 70% of their lost weekly wages, which they would be given two months to do. The federal benefits are supplemental to existing unemployment insurance, which varies by state.

The big picture: The measure is part of a $1 trillion stimulus proposal Republicans are expected to unveil Monday. The $600 weekly supplemental benefits included in the CARES Act passed in March are set to expire on July 31.

  • Republicans have said they are opposed to extending the $600 benefits because they believe it disincentives some Americans from returning to work, where their wages may be lower than what they receive on unemployment.
  • But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said Democrats will not accept a short-term extension of the aid and that she supports maintaining the $600-per-week benefits in the next stimulus.

The bottom line: More than 31 million Americans are collecting unemployment benefits of some form, and roughly 2.3 million filed new applications to receive them in the most recent week of data released by the Labor Department.

Go deeper: More details on the Senate Republicans' expected proposal

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