House Democrats urge Republicans to extend unemployment benefits as expiration date nears

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — In less than a week — the enhanced unemployment benefits Congress granted to Americans out of work due to COVID will expire. 

It doesn’t look like lawmakers will reach a deal to extend them before they run out. 

With unemployment bonuses set to expire in days, House Democrats are urging Republicans to come to the negotiating table and extend them. 

“Millions of Americans are at risk of losing everything they’ve worked for,” Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., said.

Democrat Dan Kildee says the extra $600 a week payment is a lifeline. He says many constituents fear losing it could mean losing their homes. 

“The only thing holding them together has been this unemployment benefit,” Rep. Kildee said.

“It’s a capitalist system safety net,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Republicans’ delay could hurt millions of families — and tank the economy.

“You want to see how many people will be on the street because they can’t pay their rent?” Speaker Pelosi said.

“Unemployment insurance is a top priority for us right now,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.

McEnany says the White House supports extending unemployment benefits — as do House Republicans.

“I think we’ve just got to decide on a number and I certainly would not support the $600 a week,” Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., said.

Republican Phil Roe says such a high weekly payment hurts businesses by keeping workers home. 

He says no worker should make more on unemployment.

“Literally saw hundreds of job available that were unfilled because of the enhanced unemployment,” Rep. Roe said.

Despite the urgency from both sides, neither Republicans nor Democrats say they’re willing to work on unemployment as a separate issue. They say it should be part of a larger stimulus package.

“I would be very much averse to separating this out and losing all leverage for meeting all the other needs,” Speaker Pelosi said.

Both parties say a compromise is unlikely before the benefits expire.

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