The level Republicans are mulling would slash the amount of money beneficiaries receive at a time when roughly 30 million people are receiving unemployment insurance in some form. The additional assistance has helped Americans cover food and rent during the outbreak, and many economists say it has boosted household spending and buoyed the economy.
The GOP contends the $600 per week sum deters people from returning to work because many make more at home than they otherwise would have at work. Lawmakers initially set the threshold because certain states’ outdated unemployment systems may have been unable to process setting payments at 100% of an applicant’s wages.
As congressional leaders acknowledge they will likely miss the July deadline to pass a broad coronavirus relief package, Republicans are considering passing separate legislation to temporarily extend the strengthened unemployment insurance. Democrats appear unlikely to support a short-term extension.