McConnell vows end to enhanced unemployment benefits

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McConnell warned against trial lawyer “vultures” ready to file lawsuits and said Republicans are “going to have to clean up the Democrats’ crazy policy that is paying people more to remain unemployed than they would earn if they went back to work,” McConnell said.

The remarks amount to a hardening of McConnell’s current position and a dismissal of House Democrats’ priorities before talks even begin. But as McConnell praised House Republicans for holding firm against Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s legislation and mocked her proxy voting plan, Senate Democrats were getting opposite instructions during a midday telephone conference call.

Economist Mark Zandi told Senate Democratic committee leaders that Congress needs to extend the beefed up unemployment insurance and move “quickly” to send more aid to states and cities. Zandi said those governments are “teetering on the financial edge,” according to a person on the call, and predicted many more jobs could be lost without quicker action.

McConnell seemed unmoved a few hours later and said Congress needed to proceed deliberately on the next package.