Democrats are continuing their push to restore $600 a week in enhanced unemployment benefits, under a revised legislative proposal intended to juice the pandemic-challenged economy.
The modified $2.2 trillion HEROES Act — a $3 trillion version cleared the Democrat-controlled House in May — was unveiled Monday. In addition to the measure providing stimulus checks and other support for struggling households and businesses, unemployed individuals would be eligible for $600 a week from the federal government through January, in addition to whatever they collect from their state.
State-allotted benefits averaged $305 a week in August, according to the Labor Department. In some states, like Louisiana and Mississippi, that aid amounted to $180 a week on average.
However, it's uncertain whether the Senate would consider taking up the revised bill if it clears the House this week as expected.
So far, Republican opposition to extending those enhanced benefits — at least at the $600 level — has persisted since that federal aid expired at the end of July. It originally was authorized by legislation enacted in March.
The first version of the Democrats' HEROES Act was followed by a $1 trillion countermeasure offered by Senate Republicans in July. That bill would have implemented a $200 weekly boost instead of $600.
Since then, a stalemate on Capitol Hill has persisted.
The Trump administration created the Lost Wages Assistance program soon after the $600 extra ended. That initiative provided $300 extra a week for up to six weeks, a stretch of time that is ending (or already has), depending on the state disbursing the money.
About 1 million Americans continue to file for unemployment benefits each week. In all, nearly 30 million people are receiving aid week to week.