Although the GOP has recently signaled that jobless aid may be a part of the next rescue package, unless another bill is signed by the president before the aid expires, laid off workers will see a lapse in the additional benefits — reducing their weekly income by more than two-thirds in many states.
“Because state unemployment benefits need to be extended by July 25 in order to be processed by states administering their programs, McConnell’s announcement that the Senate will not even begin drafting or negotiating legislation until next week effectively makes a lapse in those expanded payments unavoidable," Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), vice chair of Congress' Joint Economic Committee, told POLITICO in a statement.
Beyer said the Democrats' HEROES Act, which passed the House in May, would extend those benefits through the end of January.
“Now we are out of time," Beyer said.
Republicans and the Trump administration have opposed extending the benefit at $600 a week but have recently indicated that unemployment insurance could be on the table in the next aid plan.
During another event at Rockcastle Regional Hospital Monday in Mount Vernon, Ky., McConnell said the next package would have a "continued emphasis on jobs, meaning unemployment insurance for those who are unable to get back to work."
He said he's been discussing the next legislation with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said last week the GOP would "figure out an extension" to the enhanced benefits that works "for companies and for people who will still be unemployed."
White House spokesperson Judd Deere told POLITICO that "maintaining UI benefits at current levels does not incentivize returning to work," but added that "UI reform is a priority for this White House in any phase four package and we are in ongoing discussions with the Hill."
Once the additional unemployment payment ends, out-of-work Americans could see their benefits drop by anywhere from 50 to 85 percent according to Century Foundation fellow Andrew Stettner.
The size of an unemployment check depends on the recipient's income and on rules that vary from state to state, but the average weekly payment over the past year was $342, according to the Labor Department.