As of yesterday morning, it remained to seen if the Senate Republican stimulus proposal would cut the pandemic unemployment program by a flat amount or convert it into a system based on previous wages.
As it turns out, their proposal calls for doing both.
The spending bill released by Senate Republican leadership would massively cut the pandemic program for everyone right now and slightly increase it later.
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans are moving to cut the expiring $600 weekly federal unemployment bonus to $200 a week in a new coronavirus aid package they released Monday.
The $200 flat benefit would last for about two months as states make the transition to a system that would grant unemployed people 70 percent of the wages they made before they lost their jobs.
"Our Democratic colleagues know this crisis is still urgent. I know they know American families need more help. So I hope this strong proposal will occasion a real response, not partisan cheap shots," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday as he announced some details of the plan.
If Mitch McConnell wanted a "real response," he should have made a real proposal.
Cutting the program from $2400 per month to $800 per month and then increasing the program later is somewhere at the intersection of being both heartless and pointless.
If you cut the program by this much in the short term, the economic damage has already been done. That's two months of payments that won't even be enough to pay rent for most people, much less buy groceries or other necessities. It's not as if people without income would turn down the $800, but at the same time it's an inadequate amount that may as well not exist. It's enough to help, but not enough to keep someone in their home. What is the point of that?
The Republican proposal doesn't make economic sense or political sense. It's an insult to the roughly 32 million people currently receiving unemployment. Republicans are handing them a flaming bag of poop and calling it an incentive to work.
House Democrats are not going to agree to cut the program to just $200 per week, down from $600, so I'm not sure where that leave us, but unless both chambers of Congress pass a temporary extension of the program in the next four days, there won't be any more checks.
Right now it's not even clear if McConnell has enough Republican votes to pass his own proposal in the Senate. Some of his underlings disagree with extending the pandemic unemployment program at all.
Republican lawmakers are hopeless and you should never vote for one.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., criticized Republicans for being "content to do almost nothing for three long months" and said they "just ran down the block and tossed an airball."
"Senate Republicans have presented us with a halfhearted, half-baked legislative proposal," he said on the floor. "In short, the Republican plan is too little, too late. The Republican plan is weak tea when our problems need a much stronger brew."