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 TrumpStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips 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 PelosiFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Bipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise The GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous MORE (D-Calif.) said Tuesday.

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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season 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.