Published on
by

Nearly 60% of Americans Support Extending Boosted Unemployment Benefits as Trump and McConnell Say Let Them Expire

"The across-the-board $600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits should be extended well past its expiration at the end of July—until unemployment is falling rapidly and is at a manageable level."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) removes a mask he is wearing to protect himself and others from Covid-19 as he arrives to speak to the media following the weekly Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 5, 2020. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both said late last month that they support allowing the temporary $600-per-week increase in unemployment benefits under the CARES Act to expire at the end of July.

But that decision would be extremely unpopular with the American public, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll.

"The unemployment situation is going to get worse before it gets better, and unemployment benefits applications will continue to flood in."
—Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute

The survey found that found that 58% of Americans—including 60% of Independents and 75% of Democrats—support extending the temporary increase in unemployment benefits past July 31, when the additional payments are set to end without action from Congress.

The poll also found that 57% of Americans believe that controlling the spread of Covid-19 should take priority over reopening the U.S. economy.

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

The Stakes Have Never Been Higher.

The nonprofit, independent journalism of Common Dreams needs your help. Our journalists are working harder than ever to bring you journalism that is essential to the survival of our democracy. But we can't do it without you. Please support our 2020 Mid-Year Campaign today:



Enhanced unemployment benefits have served as an economic lifeline for tens of millions of people in the U.S. who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month, House Democrats passed a bill that would extend the boosted unemployment benefits through January 2021—but the legislation is likely going nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate. In a private call with House Republicans on May 20, McConnell vowed that the $600 increase in weekly unemployment payments "will not" be in the next coronavirus stimulus legislation.

Ernie Tedeschi, a former Treasury Department economist, estimated last month that "unemployed workers will effectively get a pay cut of 50-75% overnight" if enhanced unemployment benefits are not extended past the end of July.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March. Heidi Shierholz, senior economist and director of policy at EPI, warned in a blog post last Thursday that "the unemployment situation is going to get worse before it gets better, and unemployment benefits applications will continue to flood in."

"Policymakers need to do more," wrote Shierholz. "The across-the-board $600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits, which was one of the most effective parts of the CARES Act, should be extended well past its expiration at the end of July—until unemployment is falling rapidly and is at a manageable level."

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:



Share This Article