McConnell, Republicans push back against Dems’ heightened unemployment benefits: Reports

Republicans are pumping the brakes on Democrats’ plans to continue giving an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits to Americans who aren’t working amid the coronavirus crisis.

According to The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told House Republicans on a call Wednesday that the Senate would say no more to the “Democrats’ crazy policy,” which he says “is paying people more to remain unemployed than they would earn if they went back to work.”

“This will not be in the next bill,” McConnell vowed, according to The Hill.

“A recipe for people not working”

The policy was intended to help people fill income gaps caused by job losses that came due to widespread business shutdowns prompted by fears of COVID-19, and was set to remain in place for four months, The Hill reported. But as members of the GOP have argued in recent weeks, many people are making more on unemployment now than they made while working.

In fact, according to the Washington Examiner, University of Chicago researchers found earlier this month that 68% of those receiving unemployment have indeed been getting more money while not working than they did while employed. This creates what Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy (LA) has called “a recipe for people not working.”

“Now, we are paying them more not to work than to work,” he lamented to reporters, according to the Washington Examiner. “It’s terrible for the recovery.”

“Dead on arrival”

When the $600 extra per week was originally added to the $2.2 trillion CARES Act by Democrats, Republicans tried to get it removed with an amendment to the legislation, but they failed to get the 60 votes needed to do so, the Washington Examiner reported.

House Democrats doubled down on the increased benefits when they passed the subsequent HEROES Act, extending the additional $600 per week until the end of 2020. But as The Hill noted, Republicans in the Senate aren’t planning on giving the HEROES bill their stamp of approval.

Even President Donald Trump has declared the measure “DOA.”

“Dead on arrival. Of course, Nancy Pelosi knows that,” Trump said at the White House earlier this month, according to NBC News.

In his call Wednesday, McConnell expressed much the same sentiment.

“If we do another bill, it won’t look anything like the House Democrats’ bill,” the majority leader said, according to The Hill.

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