Coronavirus

Unemployment benefits: why do Republicans want to reduce the $600 payments?

The White House is considering reducing unemployment payments, currently at $600, as part of the CARES Act passed in March by president Donald Trump.

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Unemployment benefits: why do Republicans want to reduce the $600 payments?
Kevin Lamarque REUTERS

The White House already started working on a proposal for a second relief package to help Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to The Wall Street Journal, they will have a proposal by the end of this week which will include incentives for people to find jobs, spend money in their town and reduce unemployment payments.

Since the CARES Act was approved in March, people started getting an extra $600 a week on top of their unemployment benefits, but that is set to expire on 31 July. While Democrats want to extend those payments until the end of 2020, the White House is considering reducing unemployment payments to $250 or $300 a week during the second half of the year.

The idea of reducing unemployment payments is so people who lost their jobs because of the pandemic are induced to find work and not depend on unemployment benefits, according to many Republicans who have spoken about the subject in the past few weeks.

Republican proposal

The Republican-controlled Senate will come up with a new bill about a second round of stimulus payments in the coming weeks. For now they are working on a proposal of their own having received the Democrats HEROES Act already.

  • The Senate Leader said a second bill would be narrowly focused and not exceed $1 trillion, Axios reported in late May. The CARES Act is a $2 trillion package, in comparison. The Heroes Act proposes to spend $3 trillion.
  • The Senate package could include provisions to reduce liability for doctors and businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits, the Journal reported.
  • It could include assistance for small businesses and health care.
  • If the package is approved, McConnell said it would be the last coronavirus stimulus package Congress passes.