US Republicans introduce $1tn pandemic recovery plan which could cut unemployment payments

Proposals pave way for talks with Democrats, who have defended weekly benefits received by millions 

Anti-Trump Republican group launches ad against Mitch McConnell

US Senate Republicans have proposed an additional $1 trillion (£776bn) coronavirus stimulus package that could cut unemployment payments by two-thirds.

Under the plans introduced by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell on Monday, some 32 million Americans on unemployment amid the Covid-19 pandemic could see supplemental $600 (£466) unemployment payments cut to $200 (£155).

Schools would also receive a $100bn (£777m) boost and most Americans would see bonus payments of up to $1,200 (£932), under the plan.

But those proposals, which pave the way for talks with Democrats, have been described as “totally inadequate”.

However, whilst some Democrats complain the latest coronavirus stimulus package could be too limited, some Republicans have called it too expensive.

That criticism comes after the Republican-led Senate refused to consider a $3 trillion (£2.3t) coronavirus stimulus package known as the “HEROES Act”, which passed the Democrat-led House of Representatives in May.

Mr McConnell on Monday called the “HEROES Act” a “socialist manifesto” and urged Democrats to work with Republicans on their plan, called the “HEALS Act.”

“We have one foot in the pandemic and one foot in the recovery,” said Mr McConnell.

“The American people need more help. They need it to be comprehensive, and they need it to be carefully tailored to this crossroads.”

Mr McConnell’s “tailored and targeted” proposals would also see $190 billion (£148bn) made available as small business loans, and $100 billion (£78bn) set aside to protect seasonal and low-income businesses.

States would also pay up to 70 per cent in previous wages – or $500 (£389) – in place of the $600 (£466) weekly unemployment benefits due to end on Friday.

The extra payments – which exceeded the former wages of some workers – have been a sticking point for many Republicans, who say they discouraged Americans from returning to work.

Others say the payments have provided an unexpected boost to consumer spending, and protected those whose jobs do not exist during the pandemic.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer described the Republican plan on Monday as “weak tea, when our problems need a much stronger brew”.

He also argued that some states would be unable to implement unemployment changes, due to outmoded state computer systems that left many waiting weeks for previous coronavirus-related assistance.

Democrats say they will oppose a Republican plan to protect businesses and schools from liability lawsuits as they reopen with the coronavirus pandemic – which has now led to 150,000 American deaths and 4.3 million cases.

The Republican stimulus proposal also included non Covid-19 measures, such as $1.8 billion (£1.4bn) set aside to construct a new FBI headquarters in Washington DC.

Those plans have been championed by US president Donald Trump, who owns a hotel across the street from the current building.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in