Republicans Seek to Cut Unemployment Benefits From $600 to $200

The new stimulus package will most likely cut emergency unemployment enhancements from $600 per week to $200 per week, according to sources who spoke to The Washington Post. The anonymous insiders said that Senate Republicans and White House officials have agreed to the cut in their effort to keep this stimulus bill at less than half the cost of the last major one. The official proposal is likely to be published on Monday.

Senate Republicans have been working to draft their own coronavirus relief package after rejecting the one passed by Democrats in the House of Representatives. In addition to a second stimulus check, many Americans have been waiting with bated breath to see how this bill handles the federal funding for unemployment benefits. Starting in March, the CARES Act added $600 per week to all unemployment checks, but that measure expired on July 21. Rather than renewing it, Republicans will reportedly deploy their own version at one-third the cost.

The $200 per week unemployment enhancement is reportedly temporary, as Republicans have a different strategy in mind. Sources said that they want states to implement a new unemployment program that will pay laid-off Americans 70 percent of the wages they collected before losing their jobs. Lawmakers hope to have this up and running within a matter of months.

This is in line with a comment from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday, when he told Fox News that both the White House and the Senate want a new unemployment system based on a percentage, not a steady dollar amount. Mnuchin and other Trump administration staffers have been visiting Capitol Hill to provide input on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's stimulus proposal, and have reportedly butted heads with him several times.

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The new stimulus proposal was supposed to be revealed on Thursday, but negotiations between McConnell and the White House pushed it back to this week. If it is revealed on Monday, that leaves the United States Senate just about two weeks to negotiate over it before the Senate is scheduled to disband on a three-week recess.

So far, other leaks on the bill indicate that it will include another stimulus check, similar in size and scope to the first one. It will be worth $1,200 per individual for anyone with a gross annual income of $75,000 or less on their last tax filing. From there, the check will reduce in value based on income up until a gross annual income of $98,000, at which point there is no check.