Stefanik doesn’t support $600 federal unemployment boost

WWNY Stefanik doesn’t support $600 federal unemployment boost

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - North country congresswoman Elise Stefanik doesn’t support an extension of the $600 a week unemployment boost through the end of the year, as Democrats want.

She does support some extra unemployment coverage from the federal government.

Stefani said in Watertown Wednesday that the $600 weekly extra - provided by the federal government as the coronavirus crisis kicked in - leads people to stay home rather than return to work.

“I think the focus should be on getting people back to work and the way we do that is ensuring the incentive is not to stay out of work,” she said. “The incentive is to go back to work.”

Stefanik said small business owners have told her they have had trouble attracting employees, given the extra $600 on top of state unemployment benefits.

(Many economists disagree with the idea that the $600 is a disincentive to work. Examples here and here. And here is a deep dive on why $600 may not be enough, or may be too much.)

Stefanik’s comments came on a day when Republicans and Democrats in congress appeared to be getting closer to a deal for another round of stimulus, including a $400 extra weekly payment instead of $600.

Stefanik said she expected a compromise.

“I think there’s a lot of ways we can meet in the middle on it, in terms of ramping down over time to get people safely back to work as the jobs start coming back,” she said.

Stefanik was in Watertown Wednesday, where she toured a $20 million renovation project at the BOCES campus on Outer Arsenal Street.

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