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.