Democrats propose extending extra $600 unemployment though end of 2020

Democrats propose extending extra $600 unemployment though end of 2020
© AFP/Pool

A new coronavirus relief package released by House Democrats Tuesday would continue to add $600 to weekly unemployment benefits through the end of 2020.

The additional cash was a provision included in the $2.2 trillion stimulus package Congress passed in late March to bring the benefits closer to income lost due to the pandemic. That fund is set to expire July 31, and some states are poised to end it a week earlier on July 25.

The bill would also offer a “soft cutoff” under which some who needed benefits would be eligible to access them through to March 2021. The package also allocates a further $925 million for states that need more money to cover their share of unemployment benefits and assist with processing claims.

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The $3 trillion legislation includes funding for food assistance, state and local governments, vote-by-mail infrastructure and a second round of direct stimulus payments to individuals. The bill also contains $25 billion in funding for the U.S. Postal Service, funding that the White House has resisted in the past. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order MORE has said he will not support funding for the national mail system unless the service ups its package shipping rates.

“We must think big for the people now, because if we don't it will cost more in lives and livelihood later,” House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' Federal aid to state and local governments should rely on real numbers MORE (D-Calif.) said Tuesday.

The House is expected to pass the package along party lines Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPence: Next coronavirus relief bill would need legal shield for businesses GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill State Department scrutiny threatens Pompeo's political ambitions MORE (R-Ky.) has joined the White House in calling for a “pause” on further relief packages. McConnell has also said Republicans will insist on liability protections for businesses in any future packages.

Democrats unveiled the package following Friday’s jobs report, which found unemployment has soared to 14.7 percent during the pandemic. More than 20 million Americans have lost their jobs thus far.