Senators threaten to delay coronavirus relief bill with last-minute objections

26 Mars, 2020, 04:55 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
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In response, Sanders said he was prepared to put a hold on what he calls the measure's corporate welfare money.

Three Republican senators are demanding an immediate fix to a drafting error in the coronavirus stimulus package that they say encourages layoffs and risks life-threatening consequences to critical industries.

"We must sadly oppose the fast-tracking of this bill until this text is addressed, or the Department of Labor issues regulatory guidance that no American would earn more by not working than by working", they said.

Sasse said that the senators were working with Finance Committee staff to draft an amendment to solve the problem.

However, a GOP aide pushed back on the senators' concerns, telling the Hill that "nothing in this bill incentivizes businesses to lay off employees, in fact it's just the opposite". "The primary goal of policymakers should be to keep Americans attached to their employers, not government programs".

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Sasse spokesman James Wegmann told Fox News that the amendment will stipulate that "the maximum unemployment benefit is 100 percent of someone's salary, therefore ensuring they get the benefits they need, and supply chains are kept intact". The Senate will vote on the Republicans' amendment to change the provision - a vote that likely will fail, Graham said, allowing a vote on passage of the legislation as written.

Sen. Bernie Sanders responded to the group of Senate Republicans by threatening to put a hold on the legislation to demand more conditions of his own. "Several Republican senators are holding up the bipartisan Coronavirus emergency bill because they think the bill is too good for laid off Americans".

Some of the people involved in the talks had anxious that capping the temporarily increased unemployment benefits to workers' previous earnings would be too technically hard and significantly delay money for individuals at the height of the virus-driven economic shock.

The across-the-board increase was meant to "deliver needed aid in a timely manner rather than burning time to create a different administrative regime for each state", Foy said.

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