Democrats are playing politics with the livelihoods of millions of Americans and American small businesses.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made clear Thursday that Democratic leaders are sticking to $600 as the amount the federal weekly unemployment benefit should be throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The $600 benefit was included in the CARES Act. The benefit, which expired on July 31, was paid to unemployed Americans on top of their state benefits.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Democratic leaders Thursday for the expiration of federal unemployment benefits during the pandemic.
“One of our senators requested unanimous consent to continue these benefits through the end of the year at a still-historically-generous level. This plan would have also corrected the bizarre choice facing American workers whom the system was actually paying more to stay home than to resume working,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “But that wasn’t good enough for the Democratic Leader, and he objected.”
McConnell noted that a GOP senator had proposed extending the $600 federal benefit for one more week but Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer objected.
“Only they are allowed to speak,” McConnell said about the Democratic leaders. “Only they among Democrats are allowed to have an opinion. Day after day, they’ve stonewalled the president’s team. Day by day, they’ve tried to invent new euphemisms to create the illusion of progress.”
The Kentucky Republican referred to Pelosi saying on Wednesday evening that there is “light at the end of the tunnel” with the negotiations but “how long that tunnel is remains to be seen.”
“There are a lot of struggling Americans who could tell Speaker Pelosi exactly how long this tunnel has been. And that it will continue to be endless unless the Democrats let us provide more relief to the country,” he said.
When asked on Thursday whether Democrats had rejected an offer from the GOP to extend the benefit at $400, Pelosi replied, “We have said we’re going to have the $600.”
“They’re just demonstrating their condescension to America’s working families,” she said.
Democratic leaders want to extend the $600 federal jobless benefit though the end of January, while the $1 trillion Senate Republican stimulus plan includes a lower benefit.
Congressional leaders, the White House and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are involved in ongoing negotiations over the fourth stimulus plan.
“We want to see a whole package and they know that we want the $600,” Pelosi said Thursday.
The California Democrat addressed the argument that the $600 federal benefit added to a state jobless payment is more than some workers earned before the pandemic.
“Maybe some of these employers could pay their workers more,” she said. “Just because I wouldn’t paint all of them with that brush, we shouldn’t be worrying about how much it’s going to cost.”
Schumer added, “I don’t know if the $400 has the support of most Republican senators.”