- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Sen. Bernard Sanders demanded that Republicans drop their objections to the unemployment-assistance language in the coronavirus economic relief package or he will block the bill himself.

The Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate said he would hold up the bill for stronger oversight on the $500 billion to aid hard-hit industries.

“In my view, it would be an outrage to prevent working-class Americans to receive the emergency unemployment assistance included in this legislation,” he said.

Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Rick Scott of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina argued that, as written, the bolstered unemployment program could provide more money than some workers earn in their paychecks.

The senators said they were hopeful the Senate would accept an amendment to adjust the language so unemployment benefits are capped at 100% of a worker’s paycheck.

The $2 trillion deal includes $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits, providing $600 per week, on top of additional gig-worker benefits, for four months.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer touted that they secured needed oversight to ensure that the $500 billion in funds are properly used.

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