WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Despite a better-than-expected unemployment report for May, more than 20 million Americans remain out of work — and the extra $600 a week in benefits for the unemployed expires in July.
House Democrats passed a bill last month to extend the benefits through January. In the Senate, Oregon’s Ron Wyden is pushing to do the same but doesn’t understand why Republicans are pushing back.
“America is on the precipice of an eviction tsunami, particularly in the Black community,” Wyden said. “Big corporations are getting trillions of dollars in support to weather this crisis and now Senate Republicans are saying, well we’re just going to cut what the little guy gets.”
The Trump Administration opposes the extension. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said in May the unemployment rated dropped nearly 1.5%.
“Our economy has turned the corner since coronavirus,” Scalia said.
Senate Republicans say extending the $600 weekly increase in benefits may do more harm than good.
“Most recipients are being paid more on unemployment insurance than they were when they were working,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said.
He added letters from small business owners say some employers can’t find people to hire “for $15 an hour, and we find that they are receiving $20 an hour in unemployment benefits.”
Some lawmakers urge a compromise: tying additional unemployment benefits to each state’s unemployment rate.