A Republican spokesperson for the Senate Finance Committee, the committee that drafted the unemployment provisions of the stimulus bill, has disputed the claims of three GOP senators that the text of the stimulus bill could create a layoff incentive.
“Nothing in this bill incentivizes businesses to lay off employees, in fact it’s just the opposite,” said the Republican spokesperson, reports NBC News. “The goal all along has been, first and foremost, to help businesses make payroll so employers don’t have to lay off employees, and to ensure that there’s a robust unemployment insurance program to help those who have lost their jobs.”
“Each state has a different UI program, so the drafters opted for a temporary across-the-board UI boost of $600 dollars, which can deliver needed aid in a timely manner rather than burning time to create a different administrative regime for each state,” the spokesperson continued. “This increase is designed to make the average worker whole. It’s also important to remember that nobody who voluntarily leaves an available job is eligible for UI.”
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Senators Graham, Scott, and Sasse have objected to the current wording of the bill, saying that an alleged layoff incentive in the text poses an “immediate, real-world problem.”
“A massive drafting error in the current version of the coronavirus relief legislation could have devastating consequences: Unless this bill is fixed, there is a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work,” said the senators in a joint statement.
In a press conference, Graham argued: “If this is not a drafting error, then it’s the worst idea I’ve seen in a long time, and that’s saying a lot given that we’re in Washington,” reports Fox News.
In the joint statement, the senators announced they would oppose “fast-tracking” the bill unless the text was fixed, or the labor department created regulatory guidelines to prevent people from earning more money by not working.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has also threatened to hold up the $2 trillion stimulus as a response to the three GOP Senators. In a statement, Sanders argued that the trio was putting forth “anti-worker” views.
“In my view, it would be an outrage to prevent working-class Americans to receive the emergency unemployment assistance included in this legislation,” said Sanders. “Unless these Republican Senators drop their objections, I am prepared to put a hold on this bill until stronger conditions are imposed on the $500 billion corporate welfare fund.”
Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who is running for president in the Democratic primary, proceeded to propose additional stipulations on companies receiving bailout funding, including a promise that they not pay workers “poverty wages.”
According to The New York Times, Sanders has agreed to vote for the bill on the condition that the three GOP senators drop their objections to its current form.
“I cannot at the last minute allow some right wing senators try to undermine the needs of workers and think they are going to get away with it,” said Sanders.