Senator Joe Manchin is looking to decrease the unemployment payments in President Joe Biden‘s American Rescue Plan by $100, saying that giving people a financial boost at this point doesn’t make sense.
The relief package would increase the federal unemployment benefit to $400, a $100 raise from the bill that was passed in December. Benefits are set to expire on March 14, raising the pressure for the Senate to pass another relief package, but Democrats face pressure from progressives to do more and moderates to do less.
Manchin told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday that he supports $300 weekly unemployment payments because it’s “consistent with what we’ve been doing.”
The West Virginia Democrat said he would be fine with the payments going through August, as per the package. But with the assumption that most people will be inoculated against the coronavirus in June or July, he said businesses that are reopening will need their employees back at work.
“Some of these things here just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t incentivize people,” Manchin said. “It’d be awful for the doors to open up and there’s no one working. You got a lot of customers, no one working. That’s the problem.”
Manchin said he expected that most of the details about unemployment benefits could be worked out Tuesday or Wednesday morning and noted that Biden is staying out of the debate.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.