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BPC's Akabas on Unemployment Insurance Developments

Washington, DC—The following is a statement from Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, on the latest developments regarding an extension of expanded unemployment insurance benefits:

“I am encouraged by the direction of talks underway in Congress to extend expanded unemployment insurance on a modified basis and provide additional relief to American households.

“BPC continues to believe the best path forward is a $400 supplement to weekly unemployment benefits through at least the summer, coupled with another round of direct payments. Congress should revisit the increased benefit in the fall, when appropriations will demand additional legislative action, based on the economic and public health conditions at that time.

“With COVID-19 cases continuing to spike in parts of the country, ending the expanded benefit entirely would be disastrous, but a recalibration begins to incentivize a return to work in areas where it is safe to do so while continuing to provide the additional support that many families still clearly need while unemployment remains high.

“With the increased benefit expiring next week, Congress must move quickly to avoid imposing an unnecessary hardship on millions of families already struggling with the fallout from the pandemic. A pragmatic and wise compromise is within reach.”

Shai Akabas is available for comment.