Democrats to Change Unemployment Insurance Plan

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 10, 2021.

Al Drago | Reuters

Senate Democrats have agreed to reduce the weekly supplement on unemployment insurance in their $ 1.9 billion coronavirus relief bill, but extend it longer, OilGasJobz confirmed Friday.

The party plans to introduce the change on Friday during a marathon of votes on amendments as a vote-a-rama. Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., Will propose the plan.

The Senate will keep the federal supplement on unemployment benefits at the current level of $ 300 a week, rather than increase it to $ 400 like a bill passed by the House. The change will keep the policy in place until September, rather than ending it on August 29 as the House Plan did.

The proposal would also tax the first $ 10,200 on unemployment insurance. The provision aims to prevent surprising tax bills for beneficiaries.

The change in unemployment assistance programs is the latest concession from Senate Democratic leaders to moderate lawmakers, after they agreed to limit the number of people who would receive $ 1,400 direct payments. The party must appease all 50 members of its caucus to win a simple majority vote, the baseline needed for budget reconciliation, in the chamber evenly divided by the party.

The review of the unemployment policy will also appeal to senators led by Democratic Ron Wyden of Oregon, who were worried about millions of Americans who would suddenly lose financial support when unemployment benefits programs expired in August. Provisions that boost unemployment benefits and the extension of their expansion, expired once last year. Congress did not renew them until December.

Wyden called for tying up unemployed aid to economic conditions so that it does not lapse before the economy recovers. Contrary to the legal aid bill, some Republicans argued that a $ 400-a-week increase in unemployment would discourage people from returning to work. They make the same argument when lawmakers approved a $ 600-a-week supplement last year, but some research suggests that the policy would not have a major impact on people deciding to look for work.

Democrats plan to approve their latest bailout package by March 14, the day the current $ 300-a-week unemployment benefit expires.

Senate Democrats hope to pass the bill this weekend. Republicans can drag out the process, as they have no limit to the number of amendments they can make to the plan.

The House intends to approve the Senate version of the plan by next week and send it to President Joe Biden to sign into law.

– OilGasJobz’s Ylan Mui Contributed to This Report

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