Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised his Republican colleagues that he would end enhanced unemployment benefits. Currently, those receiving unemployment benefits receive an additional $600 a week. McConnell said Republicans are “going to have to clean up the Democrats’ crazy policy that is paying people more to remain unemployed than they would earn if they went back to work.”
According to Politico, although McConnell “conceded more aid may be necessary in the coming weeks, he also repeated his insistence that liability reform be included in the next round of legislation to minimize lawsuits.”
McConnell assured legislators that the final Senate bill would not look anything like a Democratic proposal to provide $3 trillion in coronavirus relief that passed Friday. That measure extends unemployment benefits to the end of January, includes another round of direct cash payments to Americans, and provides front-line workers with hazard pay.
The White House issued a veto warning ahead of the bill’s passage, arguing that the legislation “is more concerned with delivering on longstanding partisan and ideological wishlists than with enhancing the ability of our Nation to deal with the public health and economic challenges we face.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has defended the legislation––and the relief it provides––as necessary.
Americans “are suffering so much, in so many ways. We want to lessen their pain,” Pelosi said during House floor debate Friday. “Not to act now is not only irresponsible in a humanitarian way, it is irresponsible because it’s only going to cost more, more in terms of lives, livelihood, cost to the budget, cost to our democracy.”
In remarks earlier today, McConnell described Capitol Hill as “a tale of two chambers.”
“Over here in the United States Senate, the lights are on, the doors are open, and we are working for the American people,” he said. “And across the rotunda, in the House? Crickets,” McConnell said. “Their lights are off. Their doors are locked. ‘The People’s House’ has shown up for a grand total of two legislative session days since late March.”
The House voted to allow remote voting on Friday party-line vote, 217 to 189, for the duration of the crisis.