Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) have called for a halt to the $2 trillion stimulus bill, which was reportedly approved in a deal between the White House and Senate leaders around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, after the senators discovered a “massive drafting error” that could allegedly incentivize mass layoffs.
According to NBC News, the senators released a joint statement Wednesday after discovering the wording, which they say 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.
“If the federal government accidentally incentivizes layoffs, we risk life-threatening shortages in sectors where doctors, nurses, and pharmacists are trying to care for the sick, and where growers and grocers, truckers and cooks are trying to get food to families’ tables,” the statement continued.
The statement says that the three GOP senators will oppose “fast-tracking” the legislation until the text of the bill has been addressed, fearing the consequences for American workers would be too great if the bill were to pass as is.
“We must sadly oppose the fast-tracking of this bill until this text is addressed, or the Department of Labor issues regulatory guidance that no American would earn more by not working than by working,” said the senators’ statement.
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Graham argued how the proposal would de-incentive working in his home state of South Carolina.
“Under this proposal that they agreed to last night, on unemployment you would be making $24.07 an hour in South Carolina,” said Graham, reports Fox News. “There are a lot of jobs in South Carolina that do not pay $24.07.”
“My goal was to add some federal dollars to the pot, to get you back to what you were making with a cap of $600,” said Graham. “This bill pays you more not to work than if you were working.”
“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,” said Graham.
The Washington Post reports that it’s possible the Senate leadership will not authorize changes to the text of the bill, as many people saw the deal “as a compromise to win Democratic support.” It’s currently unclear whether the wording of the text is a drafting error or represents a deliberate policy choice.
In the bill’s current form, the federal government would send $1,200 checks to American adults, with some restrictions, and allocate $367 billion to a small business loan program, reports the news agency.
The bill would also create a $500 billion fund for cities, states, and industries, and provide $130 billion for hospitals across the country, reports the news agency.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ended the House session on Wednesday, after only three minutes, without offering a commitment to bring the final legislation to a vote. The previous night, Pelosi announced in a statement that House Democrats would be reviewing the bill to “determine a course of action.”