Trump administration looking at 'back to work bonus' of $450 a week

Trump administration is considering $450-a-week bonus to bribe people to go back to work because many are better off on $600 unemployment payments

  • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday that the White House is considering a ‘back to work bonus’
  • He told Fox News that the idea of a $450 weekly bonus, as suggested by Ohio Senator Rob Portman, is being discussed
  • Unemployed Americans who are returning to work would keep $450 out of the $600 a week they’re getting in additional federal unemployment benefits
  • The bonus would expire at the end of July 
  • It comes as Republicans look to get rid of the federal jobless payments in a future coronavirus relief bill
  • They are concerned the payments are too high and will discourage Americans from returning to work post pandemic
  • A recent study found that two-thirds of workers who lost their jobs in the pandemic are eligible for unemployment benefits that exceed their lost wages 
  • A $4,000 tax credit that could be cashed in for employment training is among the other alternatives suggested
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

President Donald Trump’s administration is considering a $450 weekly bonus in order to entice people back to work, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday.

Kudlow told Fox News that the White House is looking carefully at the proposal aimed at encouraging Americans who had been laid off as the coronavirus pandemic spread to return to work.

It is suggested that workers may not want to return as they are better off on the $600 federal unemployment payments brought in with the coronavirus stimulus package.  

The ‘back to work’ bonus was first proposed by Ohio Senator Rob Portman who suggested that unemployed Americans who are returning to work keep $450 out of the $600 a week they’re getting in additional federal unemployment benefits. 

Scroll down for video 

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday the White House is considering a $450 weekly ‘back to work bonus’ to encourage Americans to get back to work post lockdown

The bonus would expire at the end of July.

It comes as Republicans look to bring an end to the extra jobless benefit in the next virus aid package amid concerns that it is too high and will encourage Americans to remain unemployed. 

‘It may well be, it’s something that we’re looking at carefully,’ Kudlow told Fox when questioned on Portman’s suggestion.

‘Senator Portman has a good idea. He understands incentives and disincentives. 

‘The trouble with the $600 plus-up, and maybe we needed it in that emergency period, but frankly it’s a major disincentive to go back to work and we don’t want that,’ Kudlow added.

‘We want people to go back to work.’

According to a study published by three University of Chicago economists earlier this month, two-thirds of workers who lost their jobs in the pandemic are eligible for unemployment benefits that exceed their lost wages. 

A shocking 20 percent of unemployed workers can get benefits that are more than double lost wages, with thanks to the $600-a-week federal unemployment supplement for those who lost jobs due to the pandemic.

Because average wages vary greatly from state to state, the flat federal supplement means that total unemployment benefits now exceed average wages in at least 35 states. 

Kudlow said Tuesday that he does not believe the $600 per week in extra jobless benefits to laid-off workers will be included in a future coronavirus relief legislation.

‘I frankly do not believe the $600 plus-up will survive the next round of talks, but I think we’ll have substitutes to deal with that issue,’ he said.

Kudlow suggested that the Trump administration may introduce a payroll tax holiday through the end of the year.

Portman’s back-to-work bonus has been gaining steam among Republicans as Congress remains deadlocked over the next big coronavirus relief bill.  

While Democrats push for the $600 weekly federal unemployment payments to continue, Republicans fear it is too high and will prevent people from returning to work.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week suggested that the federal payments will not continue as unemployment insurance became a new priority for Republicans staking out the next aid package.

Congress remains deadlocked over the next big coronavirus relief bill as Republicans make it a priority to discontinue the $600 federal unemployment insurance payments in the next bill

Sen. Rob Portman, pictured, has suggested that unemployed Americans who are returning to work keep $450 of the $600 a week they’re getting in federal unemployment benefits

Rep Kevin Brady of Texas warned that generous benefits, with a $600 weekly boost during the pandemic approved under the earlier aid bill, would ‘handcuff’ workers and discourage them from returning to work.

‘Republicans and the White House are reaching consensus on the need for redesigning the unemployment benefits, so they are not a barrier to getting people back to work,’ Brady told reporters. 

Brady also proposes giving workers a one-time $1,200 bonus to get back to work. He said conversations were happening at the highest levels at the White House.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has agreed stating, ‘It was a mistake to make it so high to begin with. It would be a mistake to extend it’.

Republicans are hopeful that as states reopen, the economy will improve, lessening the need for more federal funds.

But if workers refuse to return to work, they worry companies can’t begin to rebound.

Rep. Kevin Brady, pictured left with Trump, has also suggested a back-to-work bonus

Portman’s proposal is just one of several put forward by U.S. lawmakers as they look to encourage workers to return to work post pandemic.

Yet Republicans have struggled to rally around an alternative to the $3 trillion HEROES Act Democrats passed through the house earlier this month.

Democrats have argued that Congress needs to approve more aid now, to tide people over into next year.

The act would provide nearly $1 trillion for states, cities and tribal governments to avert layoffs.

It would include additional $200billion in ‘hazard pay’ for essential workers.

The measure may not be voted on in the Senate until July, however, as Republicans and the White House have dismissed the bill as a liberal wish-list.

Yet they have acknowledged the need for more legislative action.

As another alternative to the back to work bonus, Republican senators Tim Scott and Ben Sasse, along with Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, have put forward the Skills Renewal Act 

The act looks to create a tax credit to cover the costs for workers who take part in programs designed to upskill.

Workers who lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic in 2020 would have until the end of 2021 to take advantage of the credit and take on training programs necessary to build skills that will be in higher demand among employers.

The proposal would offer $4,000 fully refundable tax credits that could be cashed in for employment training including traditional degree programs as well as certificates apprenticeships and other work arrangements.

Job losses in the United States are slowing but totaled an unheard-of 38.6 million since the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns began, while officials debate what additional steps will be needed to rescue the beleaguered economy.

Another 2.43 million Americans were put out of work last week, fewer than the previous week but still among the highest figures on record, according to the latest Labor Department data released Thursday.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits appeared to have passed the peak hit in late March, but economists say joblessness is likely worse than the figures indicate since many people do not qualify for traditional aid.

Source: Read Full Article