Though the extra unemployment benefits that were afforded by the CARES Act expired on Friday, there is a plan for creating a new benefits package as part of the HEALS Act. Though the initial benefits would be only one-third of what the CARES Act offered, at least at first.
There is an additional plan to supplement up to 70 percent of someone's former salary, capping it at $500 per week. However, it would take states anywhere from two to 10 weeks to implement those kinds of systems. Assuming the HEALS Act will pass with these provisions in place, it's caused some confusion as to what these extra benefits would add up to for people. Luckily, the OmniCalculator can determine what those payments would be under the HEALS Act, and also the HEROES Act for those who are curious.
While the current deadlock in Congress has frustrated many constituents (and quite a few lawmakers), there was a proposal in the Senate on Thursday to "prevent Americans from experiencing a sudden lapse in their supplemental benefits." The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2020 was introduced U.S. Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, and Martha McSally, which would allow states to choose between reducing the unemployment benefits to an 80 percent wage replacement rate or gradually reduce the $600 enhanced benefit to $500 per week in August, $400 per week in September, or $300 per week in October. The proposal would also provide an additional $2 billion for states to update their user interface systems, which are often outdated.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also floated the idea of rolling out a smaller stimulus package to target key issues. In an interview with PBS NewsHour Wednesday, which was three days into negotiations over the HEALS Act, McConnell said that a smaller bill extending the CARES Act benefits was a possibility. He quipped that "many things around here happen at the last minute," though when asked if he was seriously considering a smaller bill or a short-term option, said that "we're looking at all options." He also added that "hope springs eternal that we'll reach some kind of agreement either on a broad basis or a more narrow basis to avoid having an adverse impact on unemployment."