New Report Highlights Dangers in Administration’s Proposed “Return-to-work Bonus”
Washington, June 29, 2020
Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released a report, “The Administration’s 'Return-to-Work Bonus' Is No Substitute for Enhanced Unemployment Benefits,” showing that millions of unemployed workers would be left without the economic support they need if the Trump administration succeeds in replacing the $600 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) with a “return-to-work bonus.”
“Replacing enhanced unemployment benefits with a ‘return-to-work bonus’ is a terrible idea,” said Congressman Beyer. “There simply aren’t enough jobs—dangling an incentive won’t create or fill more of them. And cutting off supplemental unemployment benefits could force millions into poverty.”
“In many states, where COVID-19 is surging, encouraging workers to return to unsafe jobs is dangerous and short-sighted. We need to provide continued economic support so that these workers can stay home and stay healthy,” Congressman Beyer continued. “Eliminating enhanced unemployment benefits is cold-hearted and counter-productive. By cutting off workers and removing money from the economy, it would reduce demand at exactly the moment we should be taking steps to boost demand and bolster our economy.”
More than half of states reported an increase in new COVID-19 cases in the past week with new cases in the United States reaching an all-time high on Friday. Hospitalizations also have increased reaching new highs in seven states. In Arizona, for example, COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen from just over 800 on Memorial Day to over 2,600 currently.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation was created to supplement modest regular unemployment benefits. Regular benefits replaced less than 40 percent of workers’ wages on average in 2019. In 13 states, these benefits are especially meager and replace less than one-third of workers’ wages. In Florida, the maximum benefit is just $275 per week—the equivalent of about $15,000 per year and below the poverty line for a family of two.
About Congressman Beyer
Congressman Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Previously, Beyer served as the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Ambassador to Switzerland and built a successful family business over the course of four decades.