Transcript for With jobless Americans waiting for extended relief, GOP reveals new coronavirus plan
This woman never used to worry much about paying for groceries. She's usually surrounded by meals working at an elementary school. But now, trips to the grocery school are filled with anxiety. I spent $41. It was a light shopping day for me. But sometimes this bill can be very, very big. Reporter: Laid off in March, the mom of two had to rely on the $776 she's receiving every week. A combination of federal and state unemployment benefits. It's a little less than what she was making between her day job and part-time jobs before the pandemic. What does stress look like in your house? We struggle to pay bills. With the kids home, it's rough because they eat more, they need clothing, the electricity bill is going up, and the price of food is going up. Reporter: Next week, the income will be cut down to $176, unless congress comes to the rescue in the next three days. A political standoff as 30 million unemployed Americans are caught in the middle. Worried their financial lifeline will be taken away. For the past four months, unemployment benefits have had $600 on top of them. In New Jersey, you could have received as much as $1,313 every week. In Massachusetts, $1,423. In Mississippi, they had the lowest amount. It's important for stabilizing the economy at a time when so many are out of work. Reporter: But the federal payment is only guaranteed until July 31st. Expiing this week. The extra $600 a month from unemployment really helped. Going down to $158 a week, I don't know who came up with that figure. But it's not a good one. Reporter: Keith walker is a hairdresser in Virginia. He and his partner used to provide well for their four children. But in this pandemic, almost every aspect of life has become a struggle. All of the bills are rolling in. Need to be paid. Reporter: Despite the widespread national suffering, extending unemployment benefits has become the latest political We have one foot in the pandemic, and one foot in the the American people need more help. Reporter: Today, Mitch Mcconnell introducing the H.E.A.L.S. Act, calling for another round of $1,200 checks, but slashing the unemployment benefits to $200. When you pay people not to work, what do you expect? There are 14 million more unemployed people than there are job openings. So the idea that there are some disincentives runs counter to the facts. Reporter: Republicans hoping to pay jobless workers 70% of what they used to make. Democrats want to keep the $600 payments in place through January. They outlined their plan two months ago, and say Republicans and the white house have wasted precious time. It doesn't work. It's going to be impossible to implement. The Republican proposal is a punch in the gut and a slap in the face. It's time that this body lead when the president has failed. Reporter: Negotiations have started tonight, but it's likely to take weeks to get the two sides on the same page. While Washington debates, benefits for some 30 million Americans are hanging in the balance. Reporter: As the pandemic drags on, and resources run out, she's trying her best to make it through. How much time do you have left before you run out of time? I say maybe a month, if that. Reporter: I get the sense you've had some nights and days where you've shed some tears about this. There have been nights when I woke up wondering, what am I going to do? What is going to happen? You know, crying silently to myself. Not knowing what the future holds. Reporter: I can tell, you're shaking, your legs are shaking. What is going on? Just this stuff, you know, it weighs on me, that's all. I try to be positive around my children. We just heard from a single mother struggling to make ends meet. And to break down how this extra funding plays into the American economy, earlier today I spoke to Rebecca Jarvis. Rebecca, as we just heard, that extra $600 is the difference between making it and not. Put into perspective how the money helps families and the economy. Right now, we're in the midst of a global pandemic where there's this gigantic hole in our economy. But because of these checks and the stimulus checks that have been put in the pockets of Americans, people are spending some money. And that's important. Our consumer spending accounts for 70% of our economic our economy. And whether it's doing well and adding jobs or not doing well and subtracting jobs. As the money moves, it's like the grease in the skids of the economy. It keeps the economy moving as well. Explain how this new proposal is different. Right now, what expires as of July 31st is that additional $600 benefit. If you're unemployed, you still get the benefits from your state and local government, but you won't get the federal amount of money. The new proposal says the new amount would be $200, instead of $600. About 66% less of what would have been going into the pockets of the 30 million Americans currently claiming unemployment insurance. Bottom line, how crucial is this money to the economy? It's absolutely crucial, Byron. Because of that consumer spending that we talked about, the idea being that how we behave as consumers dictates how the economy behaves. If we're spending money and making the economy grow, then employers need to hire, that means more jobs. Right now, we're deep in the we need those jobs. And our spending can help and create them. Rebecca Jarvis, thank you so much. Thank you.
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