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Retroactive Jobless Payments A Sticking Point In Coronavirus Stimulus Talks

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continue to haggle over what should be in the next coronavirus stimulus bill, with the question of whether jobless workers should be entitled to months of retroactive employment checks likely to be one of many sticking points.

Congress is poised to extend the deadline for a government funding bill by another week to pass a stop-gap funding measure, effectively allowing more time for stimulus negotiators to hammer out a deal, The Washington Post reports.

That said, talks have stalled amid disagreements between lawmakers over a dozen different issues, according to the news outlet.

While immigration is a flash point – with Republicans opposing aid that would go toward undocumented workers – there are also significantly different takes on both sides as to whether workers should be eligible for retroactive payments.

In particular, Senate Democrats are calling for workers to be paid retroactively for unemployment checks that never came during the fall as stimulus negotiations broke down in Congress.

However, a much-touted $908 billion proposal put forth by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including some Senate Republicans, does not include retroactive jobless payments to cover those missing fall payments, according to the Washington Post.

Instead, the bipartisan group is focusing on reinstating $300 per week in supplemental federal payments to tens of millions of workers, with the bill calling for 16 weeks of payments going forward. That’s half of the original $600 per week in supplemental federal benefits that was part of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed last spring.

Democrats in the Senate, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have countered with their own proposal that would restore the original $600-per-week federal supplemental benefit and extend it through October of 2021. The bill would also make the payments retroactive to this past September, according to CNBC.

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