Protesters gathered outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Washington DC home on Wednesday to demand he extend federal unemployment benefits before they expire next week, WJLA reports.
Republicans are pushing for a deep cut to the $600-per-week benefit.
Protesters were heard chanting “Mitch better have my money,” a play on the Rihanna song “Bitch Better Have My Money.”
"Without the $600, we would be in dire straits," said protester LaMarr Houston. "With the kids being home during the pandemic, it helps an awful lot, because there's always something needed, there's always something that has to be done."
The protesters were accompanied by a loud band and a caravan of supporters in trucks. Capitol Police allowed the band and trucks within a half-block of McConnell’s home.
Republicans oppose extension:
"The money we're shoveling out doesn't fix the problem. We've got to get people to go back to work," said Senator Ted Cruz. "You suspend the payroll tax, which means your wages are higher. It also means that the small business who's employing you - it reduces their cost of bringing employees back. So it's a win-win."
But protester Ana Maria Archilla said people need the money to survive.
"What has helped millions of people survive - just barely survive - has been this pandemic unemployment insurance of 600 dollars a week," she said. "It is all of our money. They should be giving it to people to survive instead of giving it to corporations that don't need it."
GOP wants deep cut:
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Republican plan would include reducing the $600-per-week payment to closer to $200 per week.
Mnuchin said the plan is to get laid off workers down to 70% wage replacement.
“We’re not going to continue in its current form because we’re not going to pay people more money to stay at home than work,” he told CNBC. "We want to make sure that the people out there who can’t find jobs do get a reasonable wage replacement — so it will be based on approximately 70 percent wage replacement.”