Posted by 26 March 2020
The Senate passed the third coronavirus relief bill by a vote of 96-0 last night, but not without a fight over unemployment insurance.
This aid bill provides for expanded uninsurance benefits for four months as well as increasing the maximum benefit by $600. This $600 boost earned the ire of some Republican senators.
Led by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), these senators pointed out that this could lead to someone receiving more in uninsurance benefits than they received as wages from their job. They suggested this could lead to people preferring to remain on uninsurance rather than seek work, or could even cause some businesses to lay off employees because these workers could make more unemployed.
In response, they offered an amendment that would limit the maximum unemployment benefit to a level that is no greater than the wage paid to that person when he or she was employed. The Senate rejected the amendment 48-48.
Opponents of the measure said that it was targeting workers who had lost their jobs. They also pointed out that each state has a different unemployment insurance system, and the federal government could not impose a broad cap like this on benefits.
In the end, the senators who supported the amendment voted for the final aid package. The House of Representatives is now considering the legislation.
Do you think that unemployment insurance should be limited so that someone’s unemployment benefits cannot be any higher than the wage he or she made while working?