Enhanced unemployment benefits are set to expire as congressional negotiators are deadlocked over a coronavirus relief deal.
The additional $600 a week in unemployment insurance that Congress provided in late March will sunset on Friday at midnight, dealing a significant financial blow to millions of jobless Americans amid a weakening labor market.
Lawmakers had hoped the deadline, which was known for months, would result in the kind of eleventh-hour agreement that was once commonplace in Washington. But in a sign of how far apart negotiators are, the Senate left town for the week on Thursday, ensuring Congress will careen over the looming unemployment cliff.
“I think this is something that we saw the deadline coming and knew that we needed to take action. We haven’t been able to reach consensus and that’s unfortunate, but we need to respond and people expect us to,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).