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GOP may cut unemployment benefits for next stimulus package

Unemployed factory workers in front of shuttered facility in staged photo.
(Image credit: Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock)

The next round of stimulus relief could include reduced federal unemployment benefits. The current round of federal benefits are set to expire by July 31

The Cares Act passed earlier this spring provided $600 per week from the federal government to unemployed workers on top of state unemployment benefits. The Washington Post reports that some Republican lawmakers have discussed extending federal unemployment payments in the upcoming stimulus bill, but at a reduced rate of between $200 and $400 per week. 

Many Americans feel a sense of urgency over the next stimulus package, as both federal and state unemployment benefits are winding down. 

The Cares Act also extended state programs to allow for an additional 13 or 20 weeks of relief, but some states are requiring recipients to reapply — a process that could take time to navigate. 

Hopefully, a second round of benefits might come sooner rather than later. The Senate returns from recess today (July 20) to begin debate on the next stimulus package. 

While no firm proposal has been put forward so far, the bill could include those reduced ongoing federal unemployment benefits and an additional direct cash payment in the form of a stimulus check. 

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has suggested that the stimulus check 2 will be limited to workers who make less than $40,000 per year. Some lawmakers have expressed hesitation about providing any additional direct payments. 

If senators don't pass a bill before Aug. 10, when their next recess begins, Americans would have to wait until at least September to receive additional benefits. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has called on Congress to approve stimulus check 2 by the end of July, and House Democrats have pressed senators to "get to work" on the next round of relief. 

Where's your first stimulus check? 

If you still haven't received your direct payment provided under the Cares Act, but believe you're eligible, check your status using the IRS's Get My Payment app or call the IRS stimulus check phone number to speak to a representative.