WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR/NEWS10/AP) — The extra $600 a week in federally provided benefits to the unemployed is set to expire next month. A petition to extend those $600 payments until January 1 is currently trending.
The money, which is officially named the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and was approved as part of the government relief package passed earlier this year, is set to officially expire on July 31.
More than 20 million remain unemployed across the country. An additional 1.5 million people applied for state unemployment benefits last week, including 760,000 new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
According to USA Today, a research note from Goldman Sachs said the company expects the program to be extended in some form, but it will likely be reduced.
Democrats have proposed keeping the $600-a-week payments through January in a $3 trillion relief package that the House approved in May. Republicans oppose the measure and it is not expected to pass the Senate.
So far, there are no formal negotiations on another relief package. But analysts say the need to address the fate of the $600 weekly benefits could force a resolution of the issue this summer.
In an interview with WCAU, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said they are looking to “fix” the program.
“We are going to make sure that people don’t get more money to stay home than they would to work,” Mnuchin told WCAU. “That’s obviously a bad disincentive for the economy and not fair.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, are promoting a plan that would provide $450 a week for laid-off workers who return to their jobs, as a “back to work” bonus. This payment would also expire by July 31, though.
Larry Kudlow, the top White House economic adviser, said last month that the proposal is “something we’re looking at very carefully.”
Employers added jobs in 46 states last month. Unemployment rates fell in 38 states, rose in three and were largely unchanged in nine, the Labor Department said Friday.
If the $600 unemployment payment ends in July, those who qualify will continue to receive state unemployment benefits.