Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has refused to extend the additional $600/week in federal benefits that will expire at the end of July.
NBC News reported:
“Unemployment is extremely important. And we need to make sure, for those who are not able to recover their jobs, unemployment is adequate,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters. “That is a different issue from whether we ought to pay people a bonus not to go back to work. And so I think that was a mistake.”
“And we’re hearing it all over the country, that it’s made it harder actually to get people back to work,” he added. “But to have the basic protections of unemployment insurance is extremely important and should be continued.”
McConnell said that he was “hearing it,” which is not the same as having data showing that unemployment benefits are disincentivizing people from going back to work. There is no data showing that people would rather be on unemployment than work. McConnell’s claim is part of an old crusty conservative mythology that benefits make people lazy.
Senate Republicans don’t want to do anything that will force them to admit that the pandemic is still a crisis.
The $600/week extra was a lifeline that allowed people to pay their bills and put food on the table. If Senate Republicans don’t replace this benefit the nation will be staring at an eviction and foreclosure crisis in a matter of months.
The benefit that McConnell calls a mistake was one of the steps that kept the economy from cratering even deeper.
Republicans are going to take money away from millions of unemployed people who need it, just so they can pretend that the pandemic is over.
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Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association