Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans are set to release a series of bills that represent the $1 trillion GOP plan for a new virus stimulus package after the Senate convenes Monday at 4:30 p.m. in Washington.
One of the most controversial proposals by the GOP will be their plan to cut supplemental unemployment benefits to $200 weekly from $600 until states are able to create a system that would provide 70% of a laid-off worker’s previous pay up to a state-set cap, according to two people familiar with the plan. All states currently provide close to 50% wage replacement.
The federal government would come in to make up the difference to bring a recipient’s wage up to the 70% level once the transition is complete.
The plan, which was agreed to by the Trump administration, calls for a two-month transition and then allows states to apply for a waiver for up to two additional months if they can’t implement the new calculation, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan hasn’t been made public.
But Democrats already don’t agree with the Republicans’ plan, a senior source familiar with the matter confirmed to ABC News, since it will take time before states’ systems can shift to accommodate any federal benefit changes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have rejected cuts to the $600 level and the Californian Democrat on Monday called for negotiations to begin on a bipartisan solution immediately after the GOP plan is introduced in the Senate.
The proposal will come as part of a broader bill aimed at handling economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Of course, this will mark the starting point for negotiations with Democrats, who’ve previously proposed a $3.5 trillion package.
McConnell said on Friday that he expected Congress would pass something by “the end of the next few weeks.” Senator Lindsey Graham, (R-SC) predicted Congress would reach a deal by the first week of August, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the negotiations can move “very quickly.” That and a September government funding bill are likely the last chances to act before the November election.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not rule out reducing the federal unemployment benefit, but she was adamant that Congress cannot leave on its long-planned August recess without an agreement.
It will be interesting to see how long it will take to come to some sort of bipartisan agreement. It might be more quickly than expected, as I know they all are wanting their August break, since they are all so over-worked and don’t want to miss their advanced planned vacations.
Come on legislative people, please do what is right for our citizens and our country.