Rep. Collins blasts $2 trillion coronavirus bill, ‘can’t incentivize unemployment’
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show” Wednesday that it is important for the federal government to act on a stimulus package to save the economy, but warned that some measures in the bill could hurt the U.S. in the long run.
“When you have an economy that is, basically, grinding to a halt over this crisis… the longer that happens the harder it is to return to normalcy,” Collins said. He said that one of his biggest concerns in any stimulus measures is that the federal government avoids incentivizing unemployment.”
“That’s the one thing we can’t do right now and that is to incentivize unemployment at the sake of getting aid to businesses and people,” he said. He said if the country does that, we’ll have a “longer-term problem.”
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Collins echoed the concerns of Senate Republicans who balked at part of the stimulus that could increase unemployment benefits to some unemployed workers that exceed their current paychecks, CNBC reported.
CNN reported that the expansion would give jobless workers an extra $600 on top of their state benefits for up to four months. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called it “unemployment insurance on steroids. But, and most importantly, the federal government will pay your salary for now four months.”
Republicans in the Senate lashed out at the idea.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., took to Twitter to blast the measure and said “only in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ world does it make sense to pay people more NOT to work than TO work. I am all for making peoples salaries whole. However, I am not for increasing people’s salary through the unemployment insurance system.”
His tweet was in response to Sanders who said he would be willing to hold up the bill “until stronger conditions are imposed” on the $500 billion corporate “welfare fund.”
Sanders was referring to the fund for distressed companies. Democrats say the fund lacks transparency. Democrats said they were worried that the stimulus package gives Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin too much authority on what companies receive the funding. The White House reportedly agreed to allow oversight of the fund in order to keep the process going.
“We need this to get working for the American people,” Mnuchin said. “And again, there are a lot of compromises. It’s a terrific bill. And it was a great accomplishment for everyone.”