So this morning on the Senate floor Mitch McConnell described various components of what’s going to be in the Republican stimulus relief bill that we will hopefully see this week.
Now, McConnell’s list this morning was not exhaustive, and there were some noticeable absences. McConnell did not speak about the payroll tax cut that the President has called for so often, nor did McConnell mention the supercharged unemployment benefits, the additional $600 per week that is expiring in most states this month.
Trump Throws Out Confusing Figure on FPUC
However, President Trump at a press conference today was asked by a reporter about the supercharged unemployment benefits.
Reporter: Unemployment insurance, how much below $600 are you willing to go and you said that the economy is bouncing back strong so why do we even need it at all?
Donald Trump: I think we have a chance to have a very strong economy especially if some of the things that I just spoke about where we want to have people go back and want to go back instead of being forced into a position that they make more money than they expected to make and the employer’s having a hard time getting them back to work.
I was against that original decision [for the supercharged unemployment], but they did that, it still worked out well because it gave people a lifeline, a real lifeline, now we’re doing it again, they’re thinking about doing 70% of the amount, the amount would be the same but doing it in a little bit smaller initial amounts so that people are going to want to go back to work as opposed to making so much money that they really don’t have to. But we were very generous with them, I think that it’s been a tremendously successfully program, the whole thing has been successful if you look, we’re in a pandemic and yet we’re producing tremendous number of jobs, that was something that nobody thought possible.
So Trump said he was opposed to the original supercharged unemployment benefits, but they did it anyway, and it worked out, and now he said that “they’re thinking about doing 70% of the amount,”
First of all, who’s they? I assume he’s referring to Senate Republicans given that he’s been speaking with McConnell (and of course McCarthy too who’s from the House) over the past couple days about the next stimulus legislation.
But then it gets super confusing because he says, “They’re thinking about doing 70% of the amount, the amount would be the same “ — so is it the same amount or 70% of the amount, and what is the amount, are you talking about 70% of $600 or 70% of the individual’s wage, I’m not sure — but then he said it would be done in a little bit smaller initial amounts so that people are going to want to go back to work as opposed to making so much money that they really don’t have to.
I don’t think it’s 70% of the $600 because that would amount to $600 times 70% is an extra $420 a week, that seems like a lot more for the Republicans to start with as a starting point here, if I had to guess I’d think they would throw out there something like reducing the extra $600 a week to like $200 a week or something and then Democrats negotiate them up to $300 or maybe if Pelosi gets lucky $400 but for Republicans to already be thinking about setting it at 70% of the extra $600, that seems way to high, I don’t think that’s what he’s referring to here.
Maybe he means that the combined state unemployment benefits and supercharged federal benefits can’t exceed 70% of the employee’s former wages while working, maybe, I don’t know, but my understanding is as we’ve spoken about before that many states would struggle to implement this sort of thing on a worker by worker basis, so if they went this route I’m guessing they might use national averages or something to make it a set plus-up for everybody to make it easier, and we’re already going to have a lag here because McCarthy said today on Squawk Box that he doesn’t think a bill’s happening this month, he said hopefully the first week of August.
Please don’t take anything I said here too seriously because truly the President’s words were a bit cryptic there, he said they’re thinking 70% of the amount, and then right after that he says the amount (again, whatever is meant by “the amount”) will stay the same but initial smaller amounts, but point is Republicans do appear to have some form of federally-funded unemployment benefits in their bill.
I know some of you were anxiously waiting about that, but of course unfortunately even if the bill does get passed relatively quickly, there will still be a lag here, just based on the timing of everything, so of course we’ll know more when we actually see a bill.