SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A new COVID-19 stimulus bill was expected to be unveiled on Monday by Republican leaders after the $600 weekly federal unemployment boost expired for millions of Americans over the weekend.
But the proposal was not expected to renew the full unemployment insurance enhancement.
“We are going to be prepared on Monday to provide unemployment insurance extension that would be 70% of whatever the wages you were prior to being unemployed,” said White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
House Democrats passed a bill two months ago to extend the $600 payments through January. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Face the Nation Sunday the new formula is too complicated.
“Figuring out 70 percent of somebody’s wages. People don’t all make a salary. Maybe they do. They make wages and they sometimes have it vary. So why don’t we just keep it simple?” Pelosi said.
But the administration says the generous benefit discourages people from returning to work.
“The original unemployment benefits actually paid people to stay home, and actually a lot of people got more money staying at home than they would go back to work,” said Meadows.
Meanwhile, Adam Mali, former Executive Chef at Virgin Hotels in San Francisco, is one of millions of Americans figuring out how to survive without the $600 federal unemployment benefit.
“It’s awful, being in limbo. Not knowing, I think is almost worse,” he said.
Mali has spent years building his career as a chef, including a stint at the Mandarin Oriental. He was hired by Virgin Hotels just weeks before the city’s shelter-in-place order took effect in March. The hotel has been closed since the early days of the pandemic.
Mali lives with his two daughters and wife in Petaluma. He says the federal aid has helped his family survive.
“Groceries, feeding my kids and myself, putting gas in the car, we don’t go very many places these days, but also paying our bills, our bills haven’t gone down,” he said.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has also promised a fresh round of one-time $1,200 stimulus checks coming in August.
For jobless Americans – time is running out. Without the weekly boost, Mali’s unemployment check drops to $450 a week.
“Not knowing when the next check is coming is difficult, because we went through that. We actually were delayed on our last check, and I had to rob Peter to pay Paul,” he said.