When the Coronavirus hit the US in late March, and the government responded by closing businesses, it pushed unemployment to levels not seen since the Great Depression. The government decided to increase unemployment benefits to ease many of its citizens burden. With millions of people still out of work, legislators are pushing to extend the additional help past the July deadline.
[There is] "no way" [the Trump Administration was going to let unemployment expire.], said Larry Kudlow.
The problem is many in the senate and congress don't think a deal will be reached till August, after the benefits expire on July 31st. The CARES Act, which unanimously passed Congress in March, increased unemployment benefits by $600 per week. Although not technically expiring until July 31, the last of the expended benefits are set to be paid on Sunday.
Those in the know have made the following comments recently:
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday that he didn't envision the bill to get done "by the end of July." Instead, he foresaw Congress passing the legislation "in the first week of August."
- Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pences' chief of staff, recently told Bloomberg Radio that the White House wants a bill on Trump's desk before Congress breaks for the August recess.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a slightly more ambitious view of what could get done. She told House Democrats on Tuesday that she hoped the two parties could "resolve our differences and have a bill by the end of next week," according to CNBC.
Our elected officials are up against it though. The House is expected to begin its recess on August 3, followed by the Senate on August 10. If a deal isn't reached and passed through the the House and Senate by the above dates then it could be weeks before the final legislation is signed by the President. However, if there's a delay in negotiations, Pelosi says she's "absolutely" willing to delay the congressional break.
"The timetable is the timetable of the American people needing their unemployment insurance, their direct payments, their assistance for rent and mortgage... forbearance," Pelosi told CNN on July 14. "We need it for states and localities to be able to pay their employees who are meeting the needs of their constituents."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told CNN "New Day" host Alisyn Camerota on Tuesday that the extra $600 per week has kept "millions of people able to feed their families" and keep a roof over their heads. Without renewing the benefits in a "robust way," Schumer said, "millions will sink back into poverty, lose their homes, get kicked out of their apartments and not be able to feed their families."
"It makes no sense to cut back," Schumer said. "When we have the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, to cut back on unemployment insurance makes no sense whatsoever and that's what they're proposing."
The Trump Administration and top-ranking Republicans agreed with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin when he said it's reasonable to assume expanded benefits would be below what a person was making at their job, so as not to disincentivize someone from returning to work.