Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Tuesday rejected comments made by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer earlier in the day that the $600 per week federal unemployment boost was negotiable, insisting Democrats want federal unemployment benefits to be extended through January 31.
"We don't believe that," the New York Democrat told reporters when asked about Hoyer's remarks that the $600 figure wasn't set in stone, reports Fox News. Schumer also said he didn't know what Hoyer said.
On CNN, Hoyer, D-Md., said Democrats are open to compromise on the $600 that to "say that $600 or nothing, no, that's not where we are. We're prepared to discuss this."
The $600 per week in additional benefits, authorized through the CARES Act, kept "millions of people out of poverty” and credited the funds for the economy "creeping back up."
Senate Republicans are proposing through the HEALS Act that unemployment payments be set at $200 a week for two months and then transition to 70% of prior earnings when combined with state assistance. However, Schumer said he thinks the Republicans' minds can be changed.
“The past three bills, the Republicans have said they want to do much less than needed,” said Schumer. "If we stay strong I have good hope there is a realistic chance that Republicans will move in our direction and we'll get much of what we want.”
Hoyer earlier said the Republican plan is insufficient.
"To have a Draconian $400 cut immediately is going to make it very, very difficult for American families to meet their rent, to pay for food, to pay their living expenses," he said. "It is insufficient. It will let down the American people, and it will damage the economy."
He agreed, in part, with Republicans who say the extra $600 a week disincentivizes people from wanting to return to work but added that "there is a way to deal with that" rather than cut recipients off "cold turkey."
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