Even Democrats are starting to get on board that the government needs to stop its federal handouts. With the global coronavirus pandemic, many employers have struggled to find employees willing to come back to the workforce when their alternative is to continue to get paid to do nothing.
Over the weekend, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia indicated he will no longer support extensions of federal aid for gig workers and long-term unemployed Americans past Labor Day in a Democrat-only package, reports Business Insider.
“I’m done with extensions. The economy is coming back” Manchin expressed to Insider. “Look guys, read your own print. Read your own print. The economy is stronger now, the job market is stronger. Nine million jobs we can’t fill. We’re coming back” added the Senator.
The West Virginia senator’s opposition would effectively kill the renewal of those federal aid programs, given all 50 Senate Democrats need to back the party-line bill for it to clear the upper chamber. Democrats are drafting the initial bill, which will pass through the reconciliation process requiring only a simple majority vote sometime this fall.
Nearly 9.4 million people are currently receiving benefits through a pair of pandemic-era federal initiatives: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which expanded benefit eligibility to gig workers. Then Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extended how long recipients could collect benefits for. Jobless people also qualify for a $300 federal weekly unemployment supplement.
Currently, unemployment is slated to end September 6th after an extension was given in Biden’s stimulus. While the number of unemployment claims has been falling showing people are returning to work and the economy is making a recovery, some Democrats still want to continue the handout programs.
Former economist to Obama recently supported extending the programs after the September 6th date and “grandfathering” in current recipients. “I would also seriously consider extending the programs and possibly making them contingent on caseload and hospitalization numbers” said Furman who is currently a Harvard professor.
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