CORONAVIRUS

Why did Mark Meadows say $600 unemployment benefits will not be extended?

The weekly $600 top-up which many Americans have been receiving on top of the state unemployment benefit will expire at the end of this week.

Why did Mark Meadows say $600 unemployment benefits will not be extended?
ERIN SCOTT REUTERS

As part of the $2.2tn CARES Act passed at the end of March, unemployed Americans have been receiving an additional $600 a week on top of their basic $200 state benefits. However, that extra bonus payment comes to an end on Friday 31 July and many jobless Americans, who have come to rely on it, are hoping that the Senate will pass an extension. A second round of stimulus checks and the unemployment bonus are two of the issues which will be discussed by lawmakers in Capitol Hill later today.

Federal unemployment additional payment to be discontinued

From what we can gather from comments made by Democrats and Republicans over the past couple of weeks, it is unlikely that the $600 extra payment will be continued – although some have conceded that a smaller payment, somewhere around the $100 mark could be approved in the new CARES 2 aid package which will be debated this week.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows explained why he feels that the $600 extra payment should not be continued in an interview with ABC's This Week programme. Meadows argued that the original CARES Act unemployment insurance initiative should be discontinued. "The original unemployment benefits actually paid people to stay home and actually a lot of people got more money staying at home than they would going back to work," Meadows stated. "So the president has been very clear, our Republican senators have been very clear, we're not going to extend that provision."

By giving the unemployed more money for staying at home, it will become increasingly harder to entice people back to the work place where, some workers would be earning half of what they currently are given in benefits.

See also

Coronavirus US: Are unemployment benefits being extended?

"Covid is not of natural origin and did not emerge in Wuhan"