An Extra $450 a Week? What to Know About the Newly Proposed ‘Back-to-Work’ Bonus

Eldis Sula
May 27, 2020 - 1:17 pm

    As the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic persist, many unemployed Americans are wondering when or if a second round of relief will come.

    Officials are now weighing a weekly back-to-work bonus for Americans who are heading back to their jobs, reports Fox News.

    A new proposal put forth by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, calls to give unemployed Americans returning to work $450 out of the $600 in weekly benefits they are currently receiving under the CARES Act. Like the $600, the new $450 benefits would expire in July.

    The proposal comes amid reports that many workers who were furloughed or laid-off are receiving more in COVID-19 unemployment benefits than they were before the pandemic.

    The Trump administration is considering the proposal.

    “It’s something we’re looking at very carefully,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Fox News' “America’s Newsroom” on Tuesday when asked about the proposal. “Senator Portman has a good idea, he understands incentives and disincentives.”

    Recently, Portman spoke to Fox, saying, “I’m hearing from a lot of small business employers in Ohio who are ready to go, ready to start reopening again, that it’s been very difficult for them to get workers to come back when they can make more, sometimes substantially more on unemployment insurance.”

    On the whole, Kudlow agreed with Portman’s remarks, saying the proposal would be a way to get workers back to their jobs.

    “The trouble with the $600-plus up, and maybe we needed it in that emergency period, but frankly it’s a major disincentive to go back to work and we don’t want that, we want people to go back to work,” Kudlow said.

    “So we’re looking at that, I think the basic point is correct,” he added.

    The federal government is currently considering several options for the next wave of stimulus relief for Americans hit by closures amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, a second coronavirus relief bill worth $3 trillion in aid.

    The bill, which includes a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks and an extension of the $600-per-week federal unemployment insurance benefit, now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to be voted against.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has voiced strong opposition to the bill. Republicans hold a majority in the Senate and have been put off by the size of the bill, declaring it "dead on arrival."

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