The Economy Contracts, Unemployed Benefits Expire

The Economy Contracts, Unemployed Benefits Expire

Bad economic news. Gross domestic product, or  GDP, shrunk about 9.5 percent between the first and second quarters of 2020. That translates into a s

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Bad economic news. Gross domestic product, or  GDP, shrunk about 9.5 percent between the first and second quarters of 2020. That translates into a seasonally adjusted annual decline of 32.9 percent. Last week, 1,434,000 people filed new claims for unemployment benefits. The weekly enhanced unemployment benefit of $600, passed in March under the CARES Act, expires today.

Deal-making as a game of Not-It? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in Senate floor speeches excoriated each other’s plans for coronavirus relief as unemployment benefits are set to expire. The Washington Post reports that the party leaders may be setting the stage for a rather competitive blame game.

Case in point: GOP Sens. Ron Johnson and Mike Braun tried to pass a bill giving states the option to tie overall unemployment benefits to a two-thirds match to an individual’s previous wages, capped at $500 per week, or a flat $200 weekly boost to benefits. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blocked that bill, saying it amounts to a “big cut,” and tried to pass the House’s $3 trillion bill that would, among other things, extend the $600 per week federal unemployment benefit through the end of the year. Johnson in turn blocked that bill, which Braun characterized as a “monstrosity.”

Also in the Senate: Another stimulus payment structure? GOP Sens. Bill…



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