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July 31, 2020

Senate takes procedural vote toward unemployment stopgap

The Senate July 30 approved 47-42 along party lines a procedural motion that could set up a vote on a Republican-authored extension of enhanced unemployment benefits when the Senate returns next week. The Senate is now adjourned until Monday, August 3. Expanded unemployment benefits expire July 31

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took this action because attempts to extend supplemental UI benefits alone were objected to by Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who countered with requests to pass the entirety of the House-passed HEROES Act. Senator Schumer earlier objected to Senator Martha McSally's (R-AZ) consent request for a one-week extension of the current $600 unemployment benefits add-on, which President Trump was said to support.

It isn't exactly clear what legislative language would be put to a vote, but at this point it would likely be Senator McConnell's amendment to provide a weekly unemployment benefit add-on of $200 or 2/3 salary.

The Senate's action doesn't necessarily bring Republicans and Democrats any closer to agreement on a path forward regarding coronavirus relief. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senator Schumer are scheduled to continue negotiations on broader relief at 8 pm July 30.


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