At the end of this week, millions of Americans who are out of work because of the pandemic will lose the $600 a week enhanced unemployment payment and other provisions of the CARES Act passed in March. Maine's two U.S. senators are calling for another stimulus package.
Independent Sen. Angus King says the pandemic is lasting longer than many in Congress expected, and that another significant stimulus package is needed to keep the economy going.
“It’s a matter of support for individuals and businesses, but it is also support for the overall economy so we are not in a depression come September, October,” King says. “The extended unemployment benefits are, for them, they are not only helpful, they are a necessity. But they also support the economy - that money is going right back into the economy.”
Republican Sen. Susan Collins says GOP colleagues are close to reaching agreement on their proposal. But she says the House and Senate will have to compromise on a final bill.
“The House version, called the HEROES Act, is dead on arrival in the Senate," Collins says. "That is a more than $3 trillion bill that has a lot of extraneous provisions in it that have nothing to do with the coronavirus.”
The Senate's version of the legislation could be unveiled as early as Monday.