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Senate Democrats Don’t Agree on Extending $300 Unemployment Benefit, Despite Schumer Claims

May 12, 2021 (EIRNS)—Despite Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s insistence that there is “overwhelming” Democratic support for extending the $300 federal weekly unemployment benefit beyond September, Politico today indicates this is not exactly the case. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has already said he won’t vote for another extension, as long as he knows that with the vaccines, there’s no excuse for people not to be vaccinated. “There are millions of jobs that can’t be filled right now,” he said, so “we need people back to work. There’s more and more people understanding they’re in trouble.”

Manchin is not alone in this view. Senate Republicans aren’t expected to back the extension in any case, and without Manchin’s vote, the Democrats won’t be able to pass the extension through reconciliation. But there are both Senate and House Democrats who aren’t prepared to vote up the extension, or at least want to wait to see how things play out.

Angus King (I-ME), who generally caucuses with the Democrats, is arguing for linking an extension to economic conditions, rather than to a specific date. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) points to New Hampshire’s low unemployment rate as a reason not to extend the benefit. A few Republican governors have already taken steps to end the benefit, citing increased vaccinations and smaller COVID case loads.

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