Mitch McConnell Vows to Block Federal Unemployment Aid Amid Ongoing Crisis

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that the additional unemployment funding included in the last coronavirus relief bill will not be included in the next one, Politico reports.

McConnell told House Republicans during a call on Wednesday that enhanced unemployment benefits "will not be in the next bill."

The $2.2 trillion relief bill approved by Congress in March allocated $600 per week in federal unemployment assistance to laid off workers. The provision was included in last week’s $3 trillion House bill, which Republicans said is “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

The comments came as economist Mark Zandi told Senate Democrats that Congress needed to extend the unemployment benefits “quickly.”

2.4 million more people lost their job last week:

McConnell’s comments came as the Labor Department reported that 2.4 million more Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week, bringing the total to more than 38 million Americans who have lost their jobs since the pandemic hit.

Despite the continued rise, President Trump said he agreed with Republicans in opposition to extending the benefits.

“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,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told the Washington Post, adding that Trump “agrees that that is hurting the economic recovery.”

Democrats slam opposition:

“The worst thing Republicans can do to the economy and American families is to allow supercharged unemployment benefits to expire,” said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.

“The virus and its impact on the economy will extend beyond July 31,” said Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed. “You’ll still have people that are in a very difficult situation, and their jobs are not available, they really can’t find alternate employment and they have to support their families.”

“Passing emergency relief legislation that incorporates automatic triggers will strengthen unemployment benefits to sustain people whose lives have been upended through no fault of their own until they can safely go back to work,” added Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet.


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