Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told “Your World” Wednesday that any supplemental unemployment insurance provided for in a new coronavirus stimulus bill should be “at a lesser level” than the $600 per week that became available as part of the CARES Act.
“There’s an extra $600 put in by the federal government on top of the state benefit,” Portman told host Neil Cavuto. “Most people believe that that’s creating a disincentive to work because you’re paying roughly 68 percent of the people more on unemployment insurance than they can make at their work.”
“I think,” Portman added, “we need to lower it to a number that gives people help during this tough time, because unemployment is still relatively high and because some businesses have not reopened because of COVID-19.”
Senate Republicans unveiled their version of a so-called “Phase 4” relief bill Monday, while White House negotiators and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., met Tuesday evening to begin negotiations.
The $1 trillion Republican bill is the alternative to the House’s $3 trillion HEROES act, which was passed in May. HEALS stands for the package’s focus on health, economic assistance, liability protection, and schools.
Under the Republican proposal, Portman said, “seventy percent of your wages would be covered, which is better than what the states generally have. Most states, it’s somewhere around 50 percent. Some less, some, some more.”
The additional $600 jobless benefit is set to expire July 31.
“It’s not good for anybody,” Portman said. “It’s not good for the workers who are not reconnecting with their businesses, because in some cases, lower income folks — a bottom 20 percent, maybe — think they can make twice as much on unemployment insurance as they can going back to work. So I’ve heard a lot from small businesses and from larger and mid-sized businesses and from nonprofits.
“Yesterday, I heard from someone who helps the development developmentally disabled in Ohio saying they can’t get their workers back.”
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Fox News’ Morgan Philips contributed to this report.
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