US ELECTIONS

US elections 2020: what is Trump proposing for unemployment benefits?

As election day approaches President Donald Trump has proposed a ‘Problem Solver’ stimulus bill that would include $450 weekly unemployment benefits.

US elections 2020: what is Trump proposing for unemployment benefits?
MANDEL NGAN AFP

The Senate is unable to reach an agreement over the extent of measures to be included in the fifth coronavirus stimulus relief package with many Americans still struggling as Covid-19 continues to damage the economy. Last month President Donald Trump took unilateral action, signing an executive order that, among other measures, extended the weekly unemployment benefits that expired on 31 July.

Under this order those states that wanted to were able to apply to the federal government for more funds. In total the additional money was to cover three more weeks of $300 in unemployment benefits, with states also having the option of putting in an extra $100 if they had the funds.

Stimulus negotiations currently stalled

Given there has been no progress in Congress to draft a final bill amid the coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump's is liking the idea of the House ‘Problem Solvers’ stimulus bill. This would provide, among other measures, a second round of stimulus payments worth up to $1,200 per individual and $450 weekly unemployment benefits.

Trump said on 16 September that the “Problem Solvers” Caucus should put a “larger number” on stimulus payments, but openly expressed his support for the new bill. Trump's current position is that Americans should receive more money. A position likely informed to no small degree by the fact he is struggling desperately in the polls ahead of November's presidential election and being heavily criticised for his handling of the pandemic.

The March to Common Ground looks for stimulus action

A group of 50 lawmakers, 25 Republicans and 25 Democrats, are proposing a compromise $1.5 trillion stimulus deal, given that the two parties are stuck with negotiations having been ongoing for months. The House is calling the next stimulus package the March to Common Ground and it includes proposals that are liked by elements of both parties.