Romney, Collins want extra unemployment benefits to last through 2020

Yahoo reports U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Martha McSally (R-AZ) introduced legislation on Wednesday that would extend the currently expired extra unemployment benefits (UI) through the end of the year.

“Unemployment benefits have now expired, and millions of unemployed workers are facing extreme financial uncertainty while Congress continues to negotiate the next relief package,” Senator Romney said in a statement. “Our solution extends the supplemental benefits through the end of the year and incentivizes states to update their UI processing systems. Let’s work together to make sure Americans don’t face additional burdens as a result of a sudden lapse in benefits.”

The proposal comes as Republicans and Democrats struggle to find common ground on a new stimulus package as millions of jobless Americans will not receive any unemployment benefits beyond what their states allow. July 25 or July 26 was the last time most workers got the extra $600.

The new legislation would allow states to extend $500 in extra UI per week for August (or $400 per week if the state prefers not to change the payment amount again in September), provide $400 per week in September, and provide 80% wage replacement or seek a waiver for $300 per week in extra UI for October through December.

The same group of senators previously proposed legislation that would have allowed states to choose between reducing the unemployment benefits to an 80% wage replacement rate or gradually reducing the extra benefits to $500 per week in August, $400 per week in September, or $300 per week in October.

The $2.2 trillion CARES Act provided an extra $600 in unemployment benefits that were set to expire at the end of July. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act, which would have extended extra UI benefits among other stimulus measures, through the end of the year. The Senate never considered the HEROES Act.