Extra $600 a week in unemployment insurance no longer needed: labor secretary

Federally enhanced unemployment benefits to expire July 31

Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said he does not think that $600-a-week enhanced unemployment benefits are needed "going forward" when asked if he supported trading continued enhanced benefits for the payroll tax cut that President Trump has floated.

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"It was a really important thing to do as we were shutting our economy down. Americans across the country were basically being told, and we needed to take measures, but they were basically being told, you can't go to work right now. ... I don't think we need that $600 benefit going forward," Scalia told "Fox News Sunday."

The federally enhanced unemployment benefits will expire on July 31.

In this May 16, 2020, file photo, Glen Buhlmann, lower left, fills out a job application during a walk- and drive-up job fair in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

"During the so-called Great Recession 10, 12 years ago when we had a downturn, The added federal unemployment benefit was $25 a week," Scalia said. "What we did in the CARES Act was $600 a week."

Trump said Thursday that payroll tax cuts could be included in a "phase four" coronavirus relief bill, which congressional Democrats are expected to oppose.

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"We're working on a 'phase four.' We're working with Congress," Trump said. "Work has started. Steve Mnuchin can give you a little briefing. Talking about payroll tax cuts, we're talking about more money being infused. And it comes back to us."

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