Expanded unemployment benefits for more than 25 million Americans will expire on Friday after negotiations between lawmakers on Capitol Hill failed.
Frenzied talks between the White House, Democrats and Republicans on a fourth wave of coronavirus stimulus have been unsuccessful as conservative lawmakers pushed for a large reduction to the $600 jobless payments supplement for people who have been left jobless by the pandemic.
The Senate adjourned on Thursday afternoon and won’t return until Monday — meaning those extra jobless payments will expire on Friday with no action.
Republicans argue the provision, passed in March at the peak of the crisis, has discouraged people from returning to work as when added to their local unemployment benefit, some workers are taking in more than they had been paid to work.
But Democrats note that many people don’t have jobs to return to, with unemployment hovering around 11 percent in June.
President Trump was willing to extend the $600 bonus for another week as a bridge while horse-trading between the two sides continued, but the Senate adjourned as he addressed reporters at the White House on Thursday evening.
“We want a temporary extension of expanded unemployment benefits,” he said. “This will provide a critical bridge for Americans who have lost their jobs to the pandemic through no fault of their own.”
“This is not anybody’s fault,” he said, calling on Democrats to work with him on measures which would stop Americans from being evicted from their homes and to pass another round of direct checks, which both sides support.
The House passed a generous $3 trillion HEROES package last month which will extend the $600-per-week federal boost to January 2021 while also allocating $175 billion for rent and mortgage aid with a host of other generous measures.
But conservatives have refused to pass the measure, eager to keep the fourth aid package to around $1 trillion, and on Monday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled his own HEALS act with reduced federal unemployment insurance.
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