COVID-19

What Senate Republicans are proposing for the COVID-19 relief bill

Sabri Ben-Achour, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, and Alex Schroeder Jul 23, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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The unemployment extension for the GOP bill will be based on approximately 70% wage replacement, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
COVID-19

What Senate Republicans are proposing for the COVID-19 relief bill

Sabri Ben-Achour, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, and Alex Schroeder Jul 23, 2020
The unemployment extension for the GOP bill will be based on approximately 70% wage replacement, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
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Senate Republicans are expected to unveil their $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill Thursday. Congress still hasn’t decided whether to extend the extra $600 a week in supplemental unemployment benefit, which expires at the end of this month.

Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall-Genzer is tracking this news. The following is an edited transcript of her conversation with Marketplace’s Sabri Ben-Achour.

Sabri Ben-Achour: Nancy, are Republicans in favor of extending the extra unemployment?

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: They’ve divided over this. They could offer a temporary extension of the $600 payment. Or they might give unemployed workers a lower weekly supplement — maybe a couple hundred dollars a week.

Ben-Achour: And when do those $600 payments end?

Marshall-Genzer: In a matter of days. Officially they expire on July 31, which is a Friday. Most states pay unemployment for the week ending on a Saturday, not Friday. That means, for most unemployed workers, this is the last week they’ll get the extra $600.

Ben-Achour: What’s keeping Congress from just extending the extra $600 a week?

Marshall-Genzer: Some Republicans say the $600 payment is too high and discourages people from looking for a job because they earn more on unemployment than they did when they were working. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday on CNBC that unemployment shouldn’t be more than 100% of a worker’s salary:

“But we went to make sure that the people that are out there that can’t find jobs do get a reasonable wage replacement. So it will be based on approximately 70% wage replacement.”

Mnuchin also said that there won’t be a payroll tax credit in the Republican relief bill. That’s something President Trump was pushing for.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

The latest: President Donald Trump signed an executive action directing $400 extra a week in unemployment benefits. But will that aid actually reach people? It’s still unclear. Trump directed federal agencies to send $300 dollars in weekly aid, taken from the federal disaster relief fund, and called on states to provide an additional $100. But states’ budgets are stretched thin as it is.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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