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Lawmakers eye reforms to $600 unemployment benefit in bid to save jobs

Lawmakers eye reforms to $600 unemployment benefit in bid to save jobs

by Jay Heflin | Washington Examiner  |  Published on May 11, 2020

Lawmakers are eyeing changes to the $600 payment boost to unemployment benefits to alleviate the incentives leading some workers to choose to remain jobless.

Adding to the urgency is that business owners with granted Paycheck Protection Program loans are having a hard time rehiring furloughed workers because of the unemployment benefit. Yet, if they cannot get those workers back, they risk the loan not being forgiven.

Lawmakers hope to address the problem, which stems from the fact that the increased benefits mean that many people would lose money by working, either by reducing the payment or providing workers with a bonus for staying on the job.

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney from Utah went the bonus route. He has proposed “Patriot Pay,” which would provide essential workers earning less than $50,000 a temporary bonus of up to $12 per hour for May, June, and July, which are the remaining months of the $600 payment if unemployment benefits are not extended.

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