Trump, Senate Republicans considering extension of coronavirus-related unemployment benefits: Bloomberg News

A “Help Wanted” sign sits in the window of a shop in Harvard Square in Cambridge
FILE PHOTO: A “Help Wanted” sign sits in the window of a shop in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., February 11, 2019. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)


The Trump administration and Senate Republicans are weighing an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits due to expire at the end of July as deep divisions make a deal on a larger coronavirus aid package unlikely before then, senators said on Wednesday.

Republican disagreements over a proposed $1 trillion opening offer in aid bill negotiations were laid bare on Tuesday, while Democrats are sticking by their demand for $3 trillion more to aid states, school districts, laid-off workers and health care efforts.

A $600-per-week federal supplement to state unemployment benefits approved in March expires at the end of July, a move that would sharply reduce unemployment for millions of Americans thrown out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of Republican senators said on Wednesday that the idea of an extension was being discussed, but there are disagreements. Many Republicans have argued that some people have been earning more on the enhanced unemployment than in their previous jobs, discouraging them from returning to work.

“I’m not in favor of any premium extension for unemployment,” Senator David Perdue, a Georgia Republican, told reporters on Wednesday. “What I’d prefer is if you want to give a few bucks to people put it in to a direct payment but right now we have provided an incentive not to go back to work, which is what that’s been.”