Trump Wants to Cut Unemployment Benefits Amid Record Unemployment: Report


The enhanced unemployment benefits provided by Congress for laid-off workers as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act are shaping up to be a major point of contention as lawmakers engage in an increasingly partisan debate over a next round of coronavirus aid.

President Trump reportedly expressed opposition to extending the $600-a-week increase in unemployment benefits, which comes on top of benefits already provided by states, during a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans on Tuesday, The Washington Post's Seung Min Kim reports.

Democrats have proposed extending the aid, which is set to expire at the end of July, through January 2021, but Republicans - some of whom balked at the initial boost - have said they worry that some workers are making more in unemployment than they would at their jobs, giving them little incentive to return to work. A paper from University of Chicago researchers found that 68% of jobless workers eligible for unemployment insurance will get benefits greater than their lost earnings, according to The Hill.

Trump reportedly also did not say that he would reject a coronavirus bill that extends the jobless benefit, but Sen. Lindsey Graham told the Post that the president agrees that that is hurting the recovery.

It's not clear whether Trump would want to eliminate the enhanced payments or possibly lower or cap them. Some Republicans have floated the idea of allowing people to continue getting some level of benefits for a set period of time when they return to work.

That's a significant concern for the Trump administration as it pins it hopes for a swift economic rebound - and the president's reelection prospects - on the reopening of states rather than additional federal stimulus. "It's a transition to greatness," Trump told reporters after his Senate lunch Tuesday. "It's the third quarter, and then it's going into the fourth quarter. I think the fourth quarter is going to be really good. But I think that, above all, next year you're going to have a tremendous year."

By contrast, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated this week that a full recovery might take until the end of 2021 and the Congressional Budget Office projects that unemployment will average 9.3% next year, similar to the elevated levels seen during the 2007-2009 recession.

A steep cut for jobless workers: More than 36 million people have filed for first-time unemployment benefits over the past two months. The Treasury Department reported that spending on unemployment benefits rose to $48.4 billion in April, up $45 billion from February. A recent report from the Brookings Institution found that those payouts offset just over half of the estimated $80 billion in private wages and salaries lost last month. And many economists worry that allowing the enhanced benefit to expire could undercut any recovery by leaving consumers facing a dire cash crunch. Ending the benefit boost would reportedly reduce the incomes of about 25 million Americans by half.

The bottom line: "Trump's own motives on this issue might be colored even more by his desire to declare the coronavirus pandemic over, and the economy in full recovery," Ed Kilgore writes at New York Magazine's Intelligencer. "You don't need enhanced UI benefits if the economy is racing back towards full employment and will soon once again be the greatest economy in the history of the human race, at least in Trump's mind."

But Trump may be undercutting the chances of the strong rebound he wants and likely needs to help his chances of winning another term in November. In any case, with the Senate leaving later this week for its Memorial Day recess and Republicans still urging a "pause" before any additional legislation, talks on a new package aren't likely to go anywhere for a couple of weeks - and there are still plenty of other issues to be hashed out as well, from aid to state and local governments to stimulus payments to households.

Like what you're reading? Sign up for our free newsletter.


More Related News

Trump took shelter in White House bunker as protests raged
Trump took shelter in White House bunker as protests raged
  • World
  • 2020-06-01 02:09:28Z

Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades. Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House who was not authorized to publicly discuss private matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The account was confirmed by an administration official who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

What Top Conservatives Are Saying About George Floyd and Police Brutality
What Top Conservatives Are Saying About George Floyd and Police Brutality

In her typical appearances on Fox News, Jeanine Pirro, a former Republican district attorney, reserves her highest dudgeon for castigating liberals and lamenting the demise of law and order.But on Friday's "Fox & Friends," Pirro's voice nearly broke as she described the agonizing final moments of George Floyd, the black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer ignored his pleas and pinned him to the ground during a routine stop."George Floyd was begging, saying he couldn't breathe, saying please, please," Pirro told viewers. "This man who put his knee on the neck of George Floyd does not deserve to be free in this country."Even right-wing stars like Rush Limbaugh hedged their...

Black Americans Have a Message for Democrats: Not Being Trump Is Not Enough
Black Americans Have a Message for Democrats: Not Being Trump Is Not Enough

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- In an on-camera address after a week of destructive protests, former Vice President Joe Biden pleaded with his audience to imagine life for black people in America. Imagine, he said, "if every time your husband or son, wife or daughter left the house, you feared for their safety." Imagine the police called on you for sitting in Starbucks."The anger and frustration and the exhaustion, it's undeniable," he said.Exhaustion. For many black Americans across the country, what a year this has been. The coronavirus pandemic has continued to disproportionately kill black people, and a spate of high profile killings in recent months in Georgia, Kentucky and Minnesota, the latter...

Fiery Clashes Between Police and Protesters Spread Through U.S.
Fiery Clashes Between Police and Protesters Spread Through U.S.

Protesters who took to the streets in Minneapolis for the fifth straight night Saturday met a more determined response from police officers and National Guard troops, as demonstrations escalated in dozens of cities across the country -- an outpouring of national anger sparked by the death of a black

Fox News Host Chris Wallace Confronts GOP Sen. Tim Scott With
Fox News Host Chris Wallace Confronts GOP Sen. Tim Scott With 'Vicious' Trump Tweets

Towards the end of his interview with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) on Sunday morning, Fox News host Chris Wallace forced his guest to reckon with the series of incendiary tweets President Donald Trump posted over the weekend as anti-police violence protests raged across the country. Paraphrasing his previous guest, Dr. Cornel West, the Fox News Sunday host said, "We have to talk not only about what is going on in the riots in the street, we have to talk about what is going on among people at the highest levels of our society."Wallace began with the tweet that Twitter hid from users for violating its policy against "glorifying violence." Trump wrote, "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Economy