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Smith: Pandemic Unemployment Benefits in New Relief Package Need Change

As leaders in Washington D.C. continue working on a new package for COVID-19 relief, Nebraska’s Third District Congressman is among lawmakers supportive of a change to the Pandemic Unemployment Insurance benefits provided under the CARES Act.

While he’s not confident a compromise will emerge any time soon, Adrian Smith tells KNEB News there are realities that exist showing those benefits need to be modified if they’re included in a new round of financial support. “Simply extending what was in place through the end of July I think is damaging, ultimately to our economy, but even more importantly, to opportunity across America.”

Benefits of $600 per week expired July 25th, and Smith tells us he’s heard of employers with open positions to fill, but haven’t been able to do so. “They feel they have to compete with that unemployment compensation that is really designed, unfortunately, for California and New York,” said Smith. “I don’t think our unemployment system was ever intended to be a one-size-fits-all approach, and I think we can do a lot better than that approach.”

He says another relief package may be needed, but lawmakers need to be careful about spending, and address COVID-19 liability as well.

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