Millions of Americans are hoping for another extension of COVID-19 unemployment checks. The original $600 federal supplement was extended for six weeks at the amount of $300, but that time has passed and many people have received their final extra checks.
Will you get another extension of federal unemployment benefits? Here’s the update as of October 12.
On October 9, the White House offered $1.8 trillion for the overall price tag of a second stimulus relief plan. However, on October 10, things moved in the wrong direction when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the new White House offer.
One reason she gave? The need she believes Americans have for another $600 extension in unemployment benefits.
However, at the same time, Senate Republicans, by some accounts as many as 20 of them, have balked at the $1.8 trillion plan from the White House. They think it’s too much. They’ve also consistently opposed the higher $600 figure for extra unemployment benefits, saying it provides too much of an incentive not to work.
Thus, as of October 12, negotiations remain stalled with the election around the corner. The election probably decreases the chances that a second plan will get done because neither side may want to hand the other a victory as people head out to vote.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Expired Extra Benefits Are Federal Benefits Only
The fact the federal benefits have expired doesn’t mean you won’t get any unemployment benefits. You could still qualify for whatever your state provides. The federal supplemental benefits were in addition to the unemployment benefits already provided by states.
That doesn’t mean that many Americans don’t badly need the federal enhancement. According to CNBC, without the extra benefits, some Americans could get as little as $5 a week.
When Trump authorized the six-week extension at $300 a week, some states kicked in an extra $100, bringing the extension to $400 a week.
Blaze, a conservative media site, reported that “the nonpartisan, not-for-profit Foundation for Government Accountability has a forthcoming report outlining the negative consequences of the enhanced unemployment benefit.” With reports like that circulating in conservative media, it’s unlikely that the $600 figure will become reality.
Pelosi Soundly Rejected the White House Proposal
Pelosi emphatically rejected the White House’s $1.8 trillion proposal. Unemployment benefits are wrapped up in the negotiations for the overall plan, which contains many other things.
“This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back,” Pelosi said in an October 10 statement.
“When the President talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold, rather than agreeing on language prescribing how we honor our workers, crush the virus and put money in the pockets of workers,” Pelosi said.
Her statement summarized the aid to American families provided by the HEROES Act, including direct stimulus payments, tax credits, child care aid and enhanced unemployment benefits, contrasting it with the plan most recently put forth by the White House.
“Despite these unaddressed concerns, I remain hopeful that yesterday’s developments will move us closer to an agreement on a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America’s families,” she said.
Republicans & Democrats Don’t Agree on Unemployment Benefits
According to CNBC, the $600 Democratic proposal for extra unemployment benefits is a key “sticking point” in the negotiations over the overall package.
The House earlier passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package and it did include $600 weekly checks. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin floated a counter-proposal that would provide $400, which is up from the $200 suggested in an early Republican proposal.
But the sides have not been able to agree.
Trump has made a second stimulus plan a focus on Twitter. On October 3, Trump wrote, “OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!” The president can’t get stimulus checks done on his own because the Constitution gives funding authority to Congress.
According to CNBC, September’s job report was weak, driving need for another stimulus package.