Senate Rejects GOP Pushback on Expanded Unemployment Insurance in Relief Bill

Ahead of last nights unanimous passage of the $2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, four Republican senators sought to change enhanced unemployment insurance benefits included in the gargantuan package.

The four senators pressed for the changes to bill over concerns that the final version of the package would incentivize people not to go back to work.

“A massive drafting error in the current version of the coronavirus relief legislation could have devastating consequences: Unless this bill is fixed, there is a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work,” Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a joint statement on Wednesday afternoon. “This isnt an abstract, philosophical point—its an immediate, real-world problem.”

Joined by Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the four sought to amend the bill to cap unemployment benefits at 100 percent of an individuals salary before they are laid off.

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ben sasse Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, on Sep. 27, 2018. (Tom Williams/AFP via Getty Images)

“I plan to support this legislation tonight, but I do want to fix it first,” said Scott (S.C.), The Hill reports. “The goal is simply to keep you whole while youre unemployed because of COVID-19.”

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Partys coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.

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Epoch Times Photo Sen. Tim Scott, (R-S.C.) talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on June 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The relief bill enhances unemployment benefits to the tune of an additional $600 a week over and above any state benefits, for a period of four months.

“It has unemployment insurance on steroids,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday. “But, and most importantly, the federal government will pay your salary, your full salary for now four months.”

The four GOP senators argued that the agreement would reduce the incentive to work.

“Something hit me like a ton of bricks … Under this bill you get $23.15 an hour based on a 40-hour work week not to work,” Graham said Wednesday, according to The Hill. “Weve created Pandoras box for our economy.”

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Epoch Times Photo Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks to media during a break in impeachment proceedings, in the Senate subway area in the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 28, 2020. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

There was bipartisan opposition to the amendment forwarded by the four GOP senators.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the Department of Labor indicated that a state-by-state cap could not be harmonized nationwide because of differences in state unemployment systems.

“The way you want to calculate it, were told cannot be done,” Durbin said, the Hill reports.

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