(RightWing.org) – In a dramatic sign of where his priorities lie, Sen.Bernie Sanders (D-VT), threatened Wednesday to obstruct the vital coronavirus stimulus bill. He wanted to stop aid to millions because Republican lawmakers wanted to correct a serious error in how it deals with unemployment benefits. A major goal of the bill is to preserve jobs but, as it’s written, workers could get more money if they lose their jobs. Republicans wanted to fix this – but Bernie didn’t.
After days of negotiations, the Senate passed a compromise coronavirus stimulus package late Wednesday night and the House ratified it on Friday. This means millions of American workers will get the financial support they need – but one extreme leftist — and presidential candidate — nearly stopped it from happening.
- A major item in the stimulus package is an expansion to unemployment benefits for anyone who loses their job because of the pandemic. This consists of a federal payment on top of existing unemployment benefits, which are calculated as a percentage of previous income.
- The problem is that, as written, the federal payment isn’t a percentage of income. It’s a flat rate payment of $600 a week.
- This means, in many states, workers on unemployment would be getting more money than if they’d kept their jobs. For example, in South Carolina, the total benefit would equal a wage of $24.07 an hour – over 3 times the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
- Republicans believe this is a drafting error in the bill, and they proposed a simple fix – just make the combined state and federal benefit top out at 100% of previous wages. That way, nobody would be given an incentive to not work, which is going to be vital if we want the economy to recover.
- However, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) objected to the proposed change – and threatened to cause even more of a delay to the bill if he didn’t get his way.
- Sanders claimed that the proposed amendment will “prevent working-class Americans to [sic] receive the emergency unemployment assistance included in this legislation.” It won’t, of course; it will just cap that assistance at the same level as what they were earning before.
- In the end, Senators voted for the unamended bill. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) said, “The bottom line is that the good in the bill outweighed the bad, and especially this provision that I thought was bad.”
- However, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) slammed Sanders for opposing the amendment. “You want to destroy what’s left of the economy? Pass it the way it’s written,” he told reporters.
Copyright 2020, RightWing.org