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Wyden: Tie Unemployment Insurance to Economic Conditions – Prevent Republican Economic Sabotage!

Sen. Ron Wyden
D-Oregon

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today unveiled a proposal to tie unemployment insurance benefits to economic conditions and thereby prevent Republican economic sabotage.

“Donald Trump has given up on fighting the virus, making it more likely the economy could remain in a ditch with unemployment at historically high levels for months, if not years, to come,” Wyden said. “Congress should not allow families to experience unprecedented and unnecessary financial pain and suffering without a helping hand. The next coronavirus response relief package must include economic triggers so that programs like unemployment insurance run on auto-pilot for the duration of this crisis. Both the extension and expansion of benefits would be tied to a state’s unemployment rate and phase down gradually. This proposal would ensure workers can keep food on the table and prevent Republican economic sabotage.”

Proposed Triggers for Unemployment Insurance Expansions

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
· After July 31, 2020, the amount of FPUC will remain at $600 for all weeks until a state’s three-month average total unemployment rate falls below 11%
· FPUC will be $500 while a state’s unemployment rate is above 10%
· FPUC will be $400 while a state’s unemployment rate is above 9%
· FPUC will be $300 while a state’s unemployment rate is above 8%
· FPUC will be $200 while a state’s unemployment rate is above 7%
· FPUC will be $100 while a state’s unemployment rate is above 6%

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
· The 13 weeks of PEUC made available under the CARES Act will remain available until March 27, 2021. Thereafter, they will remain available as long as a state’s unemployment rate is above 5.5%. PEUC makes a total of 39 weeks of unemployment compensation available in most states.
· A total of 26 weeks of PEUC will be available when a state’s unemployment rate is above 6.5%, making a total of 52 weeks of unemployment compensation available.
· A total of 39 weeks of PEUC will be available when a state’s unemployment rate is above 7.5%, making a total of 65 weeks of unemployment compensation available.
· A total of 52 weeks of PEUC will be available when a state’s unemployment rate is above 8.5%, making a total of 78 weeks of unemployment compensation available.
· Whenever PEUC is available, the maximum duration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance increases by the same number of weeks of PEUC available.
· PEUC benefits will have a soft cutoff, meaning that anyone who starts claiming a tier of benefits may finish claiming that tier even if the amount of PEUC available in the state decreases.

Other CARES Act and Families First Act Programs
· Programs described in sections 2102, 2103, 2105, 2108, and 2109 of the CARES Act and sections 4103 and 4105 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will remain effective until March 27, 2021.
· Thereafter, the programs will remain in place until a state’s unemployment rate drops below 6.5%.

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