114 House Democrats Push for Weekend Vote on Jobless Benefits Extension

August 21, 2020 by Dan McCue
A Detail of the U.S. Capitol, Aug. 5, 2020. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – As the House convenes for a rare Saturday session, over 100 Democrats are urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to open the floor to consideration of a bill to extend an emergency bonus to unemployment benefits due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter sent to the Speaker and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday, 114 members of the caucus urged the leaders to take advantage of the House being in session to reinstate the additional $600 per week unemployment benefit that lapsed on July 31.

The proposed vehicle to do it, tying the benefit to an automatic stabilizer that would phase the amount out as unemployment rates fall and end it altogether when the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end, has already been endorsed by the New Democrat Coalition.

According to the coalition, the additional $600 in weekly unemployment assistance has been a lifeline for the 30 million Americans who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Despite its importance to the nation’s families and economies, the payment has lapsed and no deal is in sight in terms of a new relief bill.

The New Democrats say tying the payment to the health of the economy will allow the payments to continue without the threat of their being held hostage by the political brinkmanship.

New Democrat Coalition Chair Derek Kilmer, of Washington, Vice Chair Scott Peters, of California, and member Rep. Don Beyer, of Virginia, led their fellow like minded Democrats in drafting the letter to Pelosi and Hoyer.

It specifically calls for consideration of the automatic stabilizer plan, which Beyer and Kilmer have packaged as the Worker Relief and Security Act.

The bicameral legislation would extend the $600 weekly federal unemployment compensation benefits through the duration of the national COVID-19 public health emergency, provide for unlimited unemployment coverage weeks through January 2021, and then continue providing enhanced compensation and additional coverage weeks determined by national and state total unemployment rates. 

While Pelosi and Hoyer have previously endorsed extending the enhanced benefits, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who were negotiating on behalf of the Republicans, rejected the continued payments as too generous, saying they create a disincentive for the unemployed to return to work.

Kilmer, Peters, Beyer and the other Democrats pressing for a vote on Saturday contend the automatic stabilizers should erase those concerns.

In The News

Health

Voting

Congress

As Jan. 6 Probe Begins, Dem Vows: 'We Have to Get it Right'
Political News
As Jan. 6 Probe Begins, Dem Vows: 'We Have to Get it Right'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Bennie Thompson, didn't realize the severity of the Jan. 6 insurrection until his wife called him. He was inside the Capitol, sitting in the upper gallery of the House, hoping for what he called a... Read More

Republicans Vow to Keep Raising Jan. 6 Questions, Despite Committee Quarrels
Political News
Republicans Vow to Keep Raising Jan. 6 Questions, Despite Committee Quarrels
July 23, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - As a select committee prepares to open its investigation Tuesday into the events leading up to and during the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill, a trio of House Republican wonder what might have been. Everyone expected some controversy when House Minority Leader Kevin... Read More

Pelosi Says 'Deadly Serious' Jan. 6 Probe to Go Without GOP
Congress
Pelosi Says 'Deadly Serious' Jan. 6 Probe to Go Without GOP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unfazed by Republican threats of a boycott, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection will take on its "deadly serious" work whether Republicans participate or not.  The Republicans' House leader, Kevin McCarthy, called the committee... Read More

Greenhouse Gases Heat Up Lawmakers’ Health Concerns
Climate
Greenhouse Gases Heat Up Lawmakers’ Health Concerns
July 21, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The million acres of forest that burned in western states in the past week were a lesser concern for a congressional panel that discussed the hazards of high heat caused by climate change Wednesday. “It’s becoming a routine part of life on the West... Read More

House Democrats Urge Biden to Permanently Close Digital Divide
Congress
House Democrats Urge Biden to Permanently Close Digital Divide
July 21, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - House Democrats are urging President Joe Biden to permanently close the nation’s digital divide by targeting federal investments in broadband to the hardest to reach areas, while also providing a permanent, federally-funded broadband benefit program to financially vulnerable families. The effort is being spearheaded... Read More

Sexual Assault in the Military Subject of Congressional Hearing
Congress
Sexual Assault in the Military Subject of Congressional Hearing
July 21, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck

The Subcommittee on Military Personnel held a hearing recently to discuss a new set of recommendations to better address sexual assault in the military. “The toll that sexual assault and sexual harassment has taken on our military is devastating and incalculable. We know the numbers, but... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top