“You can extend some assistance, but you don’t want to pay people more unemployed than they’d make working. You should never make more than your actual wages,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who said he raised the issue with Trump during the lunch. While Trump did not explicitly say he would not sign another bill if it contained a benefit boost, Graham said “he agrees that that is hurting the economic recovery.”
Many economists fear cutting off the benefit extension could hamper the economic recovery. Government spending on unemployment benefits rose by $45 billion from February to April, offsetting slightly more than half of the decline in private wages and salary, according to a recent study by the Brookings Institution. Republicans have maintained that the higher benefit will give workers an incentive to stay at home rather than go to work, but eliminating the massive cash infusion could further depress demand amid fears consumers are already cutting back dramatically on spending.
Trump’s advisers have expressed confidence the economy will quickly recover, a view at odds with many economists.