Republicans Propose a Means Test Instead of $600 Weekly Benefits

Mish

The Republicans finally got their act together on a Covid proposal.

Clock Just Ran Out on $600 in Weekly Unemployment Benefits

As noted earlier today the Clock Just Ran Out on $600 in Weekly Unemployment Benefits while Republicans debated alligator sausage, literally. 

Moments ago, the Republicans finally reached a decision internally, but it's one that will not fly with Democrats.

GOP to Propose Aid Bill With Extra Jobless Benefits Set to Expire

Wall Street Journal reports GOP to Propose Aid Bill With Extra Jobless Benefits Set to Expire.

After days of disagreements between the White House and GOP lawmakers, Republicans are set to release their proposal for the next coronavirus relief bill on Monday with millions of Americans on the verge of losing expanded unemployment benefits.  

Lawmakers now have little time before the $600 weekly supplement to jobless benefits ends. In negotiations with Democrats, three months before the election, an agreement on unemployment insurance might prove to be the most difficult to reach.

Benefits Have Already Expired

I do not understand such comments. Benefits ended today.

The last full week in July ends Saturday July 25 for most state UI programs. And that is when the benefits expire, not July 31.

Republican Proposal Details

  1. Eliminate the $600 weekly benefit and replace that with a means test to rejigger benefits so that they replace roughly 70% of a worker’s former wages.
  2. Another round of direct $1,200 payments to would be sent to the same group of Americans as the last round—$1,200 to individuals with adjusted gross incomes below $75,000 and married couples making less than $150,000. Payments would be gradually reduced for incomes above those levels before they are phased out entirely. 
  3. $100 billion in aid to schools and universities and additional money for coronavirus testing.
  4. State and local governments would get no additional aid, but more freedom on how to spend previous money.
  5. The Republican bill would make it harder to successfully sue businesses, schools and health-care providers in coronavirus-related cases.
  6. Estimated total cost of about $1 trillion

Cap Assistance

“It’s going to cap the assistance at a level that is consistent with people going back to work,” Larry Kudlow, the top White House economic adviser, said of the Republican proposal on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Bickering Might Last Weeks

Democrats will be incensed by points 1 and 5.

Deal Unlikely or Impossible Before Benefits Expire?

Bipartisan negotiations—which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) has said he expects to take at least a few weeks—are unlikely to yield an agreement before the supplement jobless benefit ends.

Again, I truly do not understand such comments. 

Benefits just expired. 

Unless a deal is worked out this week and made retroactive, there will be missed checks. 

What If?

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows suggested on ABC’s “This Week” that Republicans might try to pass a smaller package, which would include extended unemployment insurance, and then “negotiate on the rest of the bill in the weeks to come.” Democrats have rejected that approach.

Didn't the Republicans just reject that approach as well? 

We find out Monday. Trump could change his mind overnight 

Advantage Democrats

Because of Republican delays, Democrats can hold out for more and blame Republicans for all of it. 

Under this scenario, they would agree to a deal after a couple of weeks, then blame Trump and the Republican Senators for the difference between $600 and the 70% replacement.

Philosophically Speaking

Philosophically, people should not make more being unemployed than employed.

Politically speaking, the Republicans just stepped on a landmine.

Democrats Favored to Win the Senate

Earlier today I commented, Democrats Favored to Win the Senate.

This update will not help the Republican cause. Please click on the above link for details.

Trump Will Lose to Biden

For analysis of why Trump will lose to Biden, please see Only 13 Percent of Voters are Still Undecided

Republican bickering can easily turn things into a Democrat tidal wave.

Mish

Comments (97)
No. 1-32
davebarnes2
davebarnes2

Fuck'em.
The GOP is always the Party of Hate®.
Why is their default position: the lazy bums need to get off their fat asses?
Why is their default position: rich people are wonderful?

I hope the Dimocrats win bigly and send all the the Dumspter® voters to FEMA reëducation camps. Where they will catch the Corona virus and die.

Am I angry? Why, yes, I am.

jeff44
jeff44

I thought Mitch McConnell knew what he was doing. Is he tired of being in the Senate? This kind of stupidity is political malpractice. He could lose his own seat if he's this dumb. They have totally misread the country at this point in time.

Webej
Webej

Are there any numbers on the people who would rather receive the benefit at the risk of having no job to return to (despite the huge unemployment) compared to those who would be nudged to go back to work if the benefit were smaller?

Seems like it might be an inconsequential thing in the bigger scheme of things (people getting money without performance).

tokidoki
tokidoki

Stop all our foreign adventures, bring our troops home, and then print enough money to support people for the next 3 months. After that, there should be a "Make Our Infrastructure Great Again" plan to bootstrap our economy.

That's how you get reelected.

Greenmountain
Greenmountain

While Covid-19 grows, Trump golfs, Senate goes on vacation. At least you could pretend you care....Remember way back...Dems and Reps used to compromise and get something we could agree on..., but now we just complain about each other and the people in the most need suffer.

ToInfinityandBeyond
ToInfinityandBeyond

Time to toss this “fake” President in the dumpster. I am not in favor of the overly generous $600 additional unemployment benefit but I am in favor of limiting it to no more than the recipient’s weekly pay amount. With over 30,000,000 unemployed it is unconscionable that they did not have a bill ready to roll before the July 31st expiration date.

AshH
AshH

I don't understand the purpose of the $1,200 checks. Feels a little dirty accepting checks with DJT's name on it right before the election. Seems like money should only be going to people that lost their job.

Anda
Anda

To me the question is if the economy is going to return "at some point" to anything like previous, and if so when. You either have a temporary wide support till then, or you have a scaled support designed to help people readjust to new economy. What you cannot really do is compensate indefinitely for an economy and jobs that won't return. As we don't know the answer to where the economy will or would be in a few months time, what we are left with is a guess and a lot of people in financial difficulty all seeing that the government has the means to alleviate that if it chooses. Even without pandemic they will still remember that government has the means to help them financially, and so why should a line be drawn due to pandemic when any other reason for financial distress would be as relevant.

Aside from that, either the dollar is pretty worthless because 2400 euros would seem like a lot of money for people to not do anything much, or everyone owes most of that in debt or rent. Maybe the US is just rich though, who knows.

KansasDog
KansasDog

The dems will reject the 70% plan because all those who weren't high wage earners will get little to nothing or even a negative amount. Example: You grossed 500 per week. You get 325 unemployment. 70% of 500 is 350 which means under the republican plan you will go from $600 a week to $25.00 per week which is almost too funny. Pretty sure they just lost everything come november and will have all the time in the world to dine on alligator sausage.

njbr
njbr

Most states UI systems do not have the capacity for "means testing".

Whooda thunkit, it's just like mandating "back to school" without looking at the problems and not providing the funding.

gregggg
gregggg

We have 4 months until the election. The average voter has a 1 week memory limit.

Realist
Realist

I am having difficulty understanding all of this as I am not American. Let me know if I have it right.

Trump and the Republicans have had a couple of months to prepare for what would happen when the $600 weekly payments run out.

Republicans blame the delay on the White House not being able to make up its mind as to what it wants.

By the time the White House and Republicans come up with a solution, the old benefits have already run out; and they admit the new solution will take several weeks to negotiate with the Democrats, who will probably never accept it; and even if Democrats accept it, the solution is unworkable because states don’t have the ability to do means testing for the recipients; but if they could do a means test, many people would lose some or all of the $600 payment.

With leadership like that, I can see why the US leads the world in pandemic cases and deaths, and the virus is still spreading out-of-control compared to most other developed countries. You Americans are f**ked with these people in charge. It would be funny, except with 140k and counting deaths, it is all so very sad.

And Trump just keeps heading out to play golf.

Worst President in American history.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

The deal will have the goal of increasing the deficit so you eventually get spending cuts after covid. McConnell initially wanted state and local governments to use the bankruptcy provisions to restructure debt and spending. I would look for more legislation that brings down the economy in blue states while giving red states more funding. In a perverse way, Republicans can win long term if the economy is worse in blue states and cause more problems for democratic governors and mayors in those states.

Soft_coding
Soft_coding

If they struck a deal today and it got signed tomorrow and went into effect for this week, there would be no gap.

Herkie
Herkie

Philosophically, people should not make more being unemployed than employed.

Politically speaking, the Republicans just stepped on a landmine.

Right there is the heart of it. I am a democrat (mostly) and I can tell you right now that democrats do not seek to hold GOP feet to the fire on items 1 and 5 without possibility of compromise, with item one they simply do not want the GOP to end UI which as the GOP has said is what they really want. They want to terminate the extra UI benefit in favor of a return to work bonus to incentivize people to go back to work.

Barring that they want to cut the UI to $100 or so, but they gave up on that pretty quickly. I do think their new idea of a 70% wage replacement means test is a good one except for one thing, it would cost more to impliment and cause delays so long that they might as well just give out the $600 which is far too generous. Democrats said so back when this was begun and the $600 number was chosen. They held that it would be akin to having a tax deadline day every Friday for tens of millions of unemployed. Because a lot of people collecting the federal benefit are still making a smaller salary with fewer hours but qualified for the PUA. You would need a bureaucracy larger than all 50 states unemployment offices to do a percentage replacement benefit.

So, they must compromise on a flat rate amount per week. I agree that $600 is wildly out of line and would be happy to see $200 per week. The $600 would be generous by most states standards even if that was the only form of unemployment these people got. States average about $450-500 max benefit. If your state like Florida only gives you a couple hundred per week you need to vote in a different state government.

Then with item 5 we have a different kettle of fish entirely and I am not sure this one will be so easily solved, nor is it likely that people will understand it. There are documented examples, many of them, where employees were fairly forced to work cheek by jowel together in unsafe environments and got Covid, some died, others disabled and possibly for life, we do not know yet what some of the long-term effects are. The democrats have said over and over they are not going to give blanket immunity to firms against law suits and that is a seriously fat crimson red line for them. Because while immunity would help business get back on it's feet it would also protect the worst employers out there who would do anything to their employees for a buck.

This is another case where compromise is required and could easily be done, in the end will be done anyway so it behooves both sides to do their best to make a compromise now, and I think the democrats have said they are willing to discuss it, but the GOP has been unwilling to even think about compromise. We know they have a history of demanding tort reform that favors employers over employees going way back into my childhood at least.

They could simply stiffen current law to say that in the event an employer can prove they did all that was prudent and practical to protect the health of their workers but the employees got sick anyway those shall be exempt from lawsuits. Then most workers will still be covered as a group under current law, but, for those random few that got sick and damaged when the employer did all they practically could, we would set up a trust fund for such survivors so that they are not left damaged withou any sort of compensation, possibly make them eligigible for SS. After all, those workers are the leading edge of the economy as the ones still willing to work. If work results in permanent injury or death they SHOULD be compensated appropriately. Yet the GOP is correct that companies that did their best to avoid harm to workers should also be immune to punishment. Where they get it wrong is they want to also protect businesses that do not care if they harm employees or not, some would even harm them intentionally if it means 1% on their profit loss statements this quarter and we all know that.

All the democrats are asking for is a fair compromise and the GOP is rapidly getting to the point where it must agree and that is sort of fun to see. Right now they are delaying and whimpering around the stiffnecked Moscow Mitch seeing their careers get vaporized. They are seeing polls that are basically saying not only will the GOP lose in an epic history making landslide in November, they may be witnessing the end of their party as it has been for 100 years. Their brand is rotting and falling off the tree.

In a true national emergency the optics for the GOP are horrible, they are doing everything they can to argue and delay and force shutdown of any aid to people over what amount to arcane and legally dense views that they are carrying in their teeth like a pit bull with a juicy bone. And the worst part for them is that their party leader - Trump - is providing zero leadership at all. Those businesses that had not adopted a mask rule before now, here that would be Winn-Dixie and Home Depot, while all others have, did not because they know Trump supporters would simply be unwilling to wear one, that puts them in the bullseye of far right resentment. They are not capable of enforcing such.

I went to both Winn-Dixie and Home Depot yesterday and saw their new policy, and HD was actually manning the entrance and handing out free masks to people who did not have them, as well as hand sanitizers and advice on staying safe. Mind you I do not want to wear a mask either, but sometimes you just cannot always get your own way can you, and adults know that. Still about 1/3 of customers put them on in order to gain entry to the facility but then just tore them off and looked about sort of wild eyed daring anyone to say anything about it. This is the south, at least a couple were packing weapons so nobody dare challenge them lest we be the evening news's feature story. They just do not get that they are the small minority and their bullshit is going to be reflected at the polls in 99 days.

ToInfinityandBeyond
ToInfinityandBeyond

As someone who has always voted Republican I can safely say that in my opinion the GOP has completely self destructed. Moscow Mitch and the rest of the GOP leadership have allowed Trump to destroy the Republican Party. The GOP needs to lose the presidency and the senate if that’s what it takes to gut the Republican Party leadership. Also heard that clown Kudlow yesterday still talking up a V shaped recovery. This reminds me of an old joke. What is red and has an IQ of 120? Trump and his entire cabinet.

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

The final bill will likely be at least several hundred pages.

Can't wait to see what goodies hidden in bill for insiders.

njbr
njbr

it would take most states eight to 20 weeks to move to a system of awarding weekly benefits on a sliding scale

...Ancient state unemployment systems that struggled to handle the first round of COVID-19 relief payments could take months or more to adopt a White House proposal for modifying the benefits, according to memos obtained by NPR.

Such a lag could mean that the roughly 30 million people currently collecting pandemic-related unemployment benefits would see their income drop from a weekly average of $900 to an average of $300 per week.

The proposal would cut emergency unemployment benefits to roughly 70% of a person's lost wages — a more complicated calculation than the current, flat $600.

Critics have warned since March that such a proposal would undermine efforts to speed relief to millions of people out of work due to the coronavirus. The potential delays are so significant that the U.S. Department of Labor told Congress in May that it "strongly" opposed such a change because states would find it "exceedingly difficult if not impossible to implement."

The National Association of State Workforce Agencies told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that it would take most states eight to 20 weeks to move to a system of awarding weekly benefits on a sliding scale based on the worker's wages before losing their job, according to a copy of the memo obtained by NPR....

shamrock
shamrock

70% is still a big incentive to not work. If you go back to work the effective tax rate is probably 75-80%.

Fl0yd
Fl0yd

Confetti.

panem et circenses.

And, grub ....

Zardoz
Zardoz

It's perfect... just starve the unfortunates for a few weeks so they get all rioty right before the election, and then distribute the trump checks. Instant win!

Herkie
Herkie

Another consideration, the eviction moritorium is already up. Here is a map I found at CNBC showing the states and the percentage of renters who cannot meet their rent payments. Notice that the swing state of Ohio is at the top of that list with nearly 60% unable to pay. Florida is over half at 51%, and a number of other states are over 50, but not one single traditionally blue states is over 40 except CT at 41%.

ToInfinityandBeyond
ToInfinityandBeyond

Including an incentive payment for folks that return to work versus a temporary increase in the unemployment benefit suggests the GOP believes there are jobs out there for everyone that wants one. With over 30,000,000 unemployed that is hardly the case. I don’t doubt there are a few unemployed that might find a way not to return to work in order to receive an additional $600 but I have to believe that number would be a small fraction of the 30,000,000. A lot of these jobs are never coming back or won’t be back for a couple of years or more so any job offers ought to trump remaining on unemployment indefinitely.

Panhead51
Panhead51

I have always been a republican and am very conservative but I can not believe the way they are handleing this.I don't understand why they don't just give the 600,help the people,stimulate the econmy and live to fight another day so to speak.It is only until January and is not like giving in on a Supreme Court judge.The virus is on the rise and the GOP is going home and screw the rest.If Trump doesn't step in and do something it is obvious he does not care about the people and I hope it cost him the election along with many other Republicans.This is total bull shit.It seems that right now multi tasking to the GOP is having both their head and thumb up their ass at the same time.

tokidoki
tokidoki

Now they are talking about 200 a week.

Wake up sheeple
Wake up sheeple

I’m just sick of working for less than unemployed make.

1Iceman
1Iceman

Seriously though, Cruz is shouting out that he knows tons of people that are not going back to work after they were told to come back while on on unemployment. Why dont these guys ever explain that once you make the choice to not come back, you are no longer eligible for unemployment. You cannot turn down your employer without losing your unemployment benefits. Its on the application, yet they spread misinformation to the media.

HKTwinn
HKTwinn

I hope this spells the end of the Republican party. Europe and Asia has some form of 60% to 80% wage replacement. $600 x 30Million = 18Billion. Yet I see a fat stimulus 1 trillion bill filled special interest crap.

MikeC
MikeC

As a conservative, I welcome the end of the Republican party. They currently do not reflect any of my conservative principles. Best option is to let it burn and start over.

RonJ
RonJ

"Trump Will Lose to Biden"

Or not. This isn't 2016.

A lot can happen between now and election day.

RonJ
RonJ

"Philosophically, people should not make more being unemployed than employed."

Philosophically, the economy should never have been shut down. It has never been done in the history of human commerce. Common sense has been thrown to the wind.

"A strikingly odd feature of media rhetoric during these terrible months has been the silencing of voices that speak of immunity as the way to defeat a virus of this sort. AIER has reported them when they appear but, as a seriously disgruntled reader of the New York Times, I can tell you that immunities via antibodies have not made their coverage much at all."

Montana33
Montana33

Maybe the Republican leaders want to lose the election so they can get their party back. Trump is destroying their future.


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