Unemployment Benefits Negotiations Update - Thursday, August 6th
By UnemploymentPUA.com Staff, Thursday, August 6th, 2020
Our UnemploymentPUA.com hotline keeps receiving a large volume of emails asking for updates about the negotiations regarding the $600 FPUC extension. There seems to be lots of news flowing in from many sources, some report significant advancements while other report a stall. This news article brings an update as of 3:00PM EST regarding where the negotiations stand. While many other issues are discussed in the updated pandemic assistance bill including stimulus checks and payroll tax reductions, this report will focus solely on the enhanced unemployment benefits.
First, we want to remind everybody that yes you should continue to certify every week! The extension will most likely be retroactive, meaning once a deal is made, you will receive the extra amount for all weeks up to that point. Also, in many states, when you stop certifying it automatically closes your claim and you would need to apply again!
The $600 FPUC expired last week. Many of us are headed towards the second week of reduced benefits, possibly 70-80% down from previous weeks This certainly is not a sustainable amount financially for most families!
The HEROES act which passed congress in May and included extension of the $600 FPUC through January 2021 was dead on arrival at the senate, and unfortunately no serious negotiations started until last week, when it was too late.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed that she is committed to the $600 amount. Today, she again expressed her commitment to that amount.
The republicans oppose such an amount, claiming it disincentivizes people from going back to work since many make more with unemployment benefits than they do from actually going to work. This in spite of the fact that the economy hasn't yet fully opened and many businesses are still closed due to recent spikes in COVID-19 cases, so not enough jobs are available.
Regardless, initially the republicans suggested a 70% wage replacement bill, meaning that people would get 70% of the wages as unemployment benefits (instead of around 50-60%), but for man people and especially minimum wage workers, that increase would result in a very small amount and would not be enough.
That plan appears to have been scratched already, and instead Republicans are now offering a $200 increase, which is still far from the $600 amount. While Democrats have said they won't budge, it is possible that they will reach some agreement in the middle such as $400 or $500. Another idea that has been floating is gradually reducing the extra benefit each month, i.e $600 for August, $500 for September, $400 for October, and so forth.
In the meantime, Republicans have offered a short term (one week) extension to the FPUC which was rejected by democrats since they want a more permanent solution, as part of a larger bill. President Trump and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have announced that they might be seeking to extend unemployment benefits through executive orders if no agreement is reached soon, though it is unclear about the legality and practicality of that since Congress is the body in charge of allocating funds. However sources in the White House stated that an executive order would use unspent money from the CARES act which is already available.
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are set to have a meeting with White House officials tonight at 5:00PM and sources say it is possible to reach a deal by tomorrow morning. We will continue to monitor the situation and post any updates!