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Unemployment Extension Hits Partisan Roadblock As Enhanced Benefits End

  • Democrats reject Republican proposal of short-term extension of enhanced unemployment benefits as insufficient as supplemental $600 a week expires tonight
  • Many states have already distributed their last enhanced unemployment checks
  • With several unemployment options on the table, congressional and White House leaders set to continue negotiations

As the federal government’s supplemental unemployment benefit of $600 a week is set to expire at midnight tonight, Democrats and Republicans are struggling to find a solution to assist the millions of workers who remain unemployed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday night, congressional Democratic rejected a White House proposal to extend the benefits for one week, saying this was insufficient to meet the current situation and that Republicans should have brought up the issue sooner, given that the House passed a bill proposing an extension of the $600 a week benefit in May. Congressional Republicans, in turn, accused Democrats of allowing struggling workers to go unprotected. Talks are set to continue today.

Earlier this week, Senate Republicans pitched their own relief bill calling for a temporary reduction in unemployment benefits to $200, followed by a cap at 70 percent of the beneficiary’s previous wages. Members of Congress have also proposed other alternatives, such as a gradual reduction in supplemental unemployment over the next few months.

According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, the unemployment rate in Connecticut fell to 3.4 percent in March – its lowest point in more than two decades. It saw a substantial increase in April and smaller increases in the following two months, standing at 9.8 percent in June. The U.S. unemployment rate in June was 11.1 percent.

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