$100 per week? Republicans float cuts to weekly unemployment benefit; most Americans support keeping it at $600

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Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are engaged in a debate for what to include in the next round of stimulus that is expected to exceed $1 trillion.

Among the ideas being discussed are another round of stimulus checks and an extension of the extra $600 weekly unemployment bonus, which will lapse at the end of the week unless extended. On Wednesday Republicans floated the idea of cutting the weekly unemployment benefit from $600 to $100.

As the debate ensues in Congress, Fortune and SurveyMonkey polled 2,802 U.S. adults between July 17 and 21* to see where Americans stand on the next stimulus bill.

The Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll finds 80{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3} of U.S. adults support the federal government issuing a second round of stimulus checks. That’s up from 54{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3} of U.S. adults who supported a second of stimulus checks back when Fortune-SurveyMonkey polled U.S. adults between May 20 and 26. That uptick in support since May could indicate growing pessimism as surging COVID-19 cases threaten to derail the economic recovery.

While issuing a second stimulus check has a majority of support in every demographic we measured, there is something of a political divide. Among Republicans, 67{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3} support a second round of checks, compared to 92{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3} of Democrats.

Meanwhile, 68{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3} of U.S. adults support the federal government extending the extra $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit beyond its July expiration. However, the political divide on the $600 extending is greater than the divide on the second round of stimulus checks. Only 48{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3} of Republicans support extending the $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit beyond July, versus 86{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3} of Democrats.

Rank-and-file Republicans opposition to extending the extra $600 unemployment benefit, which is paid on top of state benefits is shared by their party leaders. Republicans in Congress are pushing for the $600 payment to be cut in order for it be extended past July. The reason? Around 7 in 10 Americans receiving unemployment benefits are earning more than they did at their job, which businesses and Republican leaders argue could deter workers from returning to work.

“We are paying a whole lot of people a lot more money to stay home and not work than they made on their jobs… and that is terrible,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Wednesday.

*Methodology: The Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll was conducted among a national sample of 2,802 adults in the U.S. between July 17-21. This survey’s modeled error estimate is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The findings have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography.


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