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Crush COVID, Reopen the Economy, but Dems Say No

February 10, 2021

Hours into a mark-up of the first day of hearing, Democrats are continuing to reject good-faith amendments offered by Republicans to target the $1.9 Trillion Biden bill towards crushing the coronavirus and reopening the economy. The bill text was released just before close of business on Monday.

Amendments to the bill have been substantive, ensuring better targeting of relief to those who need it, and based on policies that both parties have supported in the past.

Making sure that “not working” doesn’t pay more than “working”

Unemployed Americans want to get back to work safely, and Congress can help them by ensuring Main Street businesses don’t have to compete with unusually high benefits that pay more not to work than to work. But Democrats’ rejection of Republican amendments will only make it harder for small businesses to open.

Return-to-work incentives can help families

States should have greater flexibility to use a portion of their unemployment funds for rewarding those workers who want to get back to work. Democrats rejected the Republican “return to work” bonus.

Greater certainty for families by eliminating an “unemployment benefits cliff”

Democrats are pushing forward to eliminate a bipartisan deal in the December bill that provided certainty to American families and created a deadline for unemployment insurance applications and phasing out benefits. Republicans offered a compromise amendment that prevent an unemployment cliff in September. Democrats rejected certainty for families.

We should protect Americans from fraud and identity theft

Simple safeguards could prevent more instances of the nearly $31 billion in fraud that hit California alone—fraud that may result in “surprise” letters from the IRS telling Americans they owe taxes on unemployment benefits they never applied for or received. Foreign criminal fraud rings and identity thieves shouldn’t be allowed to raid the United States Treasury with impunity—but Democrats rejected a commonsense approach to fraud prevention.