Unemployment Benefit Boost Nixed in Senate Relief Bill

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That’s what those collecting unemployment benefits no longer stand to gain each week after the latest economic relief package was trimmed by the Senate.

The weekly federal unemployment supplement, extended through Sept. 6, was raised from $300 to $400 in the House version of the relief package but then lowered back down to $300 during Senate negotiations over the weekend in a compromise among Democrats.

Specifically, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who describes himself as a “moderate conservative” Democrat, insisted on reducing the unemployment payments and making other changes to the bill to better “target” people who needed it, he said. The Democrats could not pass the bill without getting Manchin on board, since a single “no” vote from their side could have scuttled the entire bill. 

The Senate’s version of the relief bill passed early Saturday in a 50-49 vote that did not include a single Republican. The legislation, based largely on a $1.9 billion proposal from President Joe Biden, now goes back to the House for a final vote, which is expected Tuesday. If all goes as expected, Biden will sign it into law just as the current benefits are set to expire on Sunday.

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