March 25, 2020 | IFA Staff and FOX NEWS
As IFA intercessors gathered to pray on Wednesday via phone and webcast, they were immediately called to pray about the stimulus package in Congress. All but passed, the bill had been cobbled together in the night by the Senate, with the final draft version readied for a noon vote today. Dave Kubal and Ralph Drollinger (founder of Capitol Ministries, and the guest on the IFA call) led a time of prayer asking for wisdom, guidance, and insight for leaders as they worked to pass this funding package, all while the IFA prayer call was happening.
Shortly after the call was over, we received word that a group of four Senators found a “massive drafting error” in the current bill that gives employees an incentive not to work.
From FOX NEWS:
“You want to destroy what’s left of the economy? Pass it the way it’s written,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a press conference. “If you want to help people, pay them their wages, but don’t pay them more not to work.”
The concern from Sens. Graham, Tim Scott, R-S.C., Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., is that the current version could pay workers more in unemployment benefits than they’re currently making, by sticking a $600 per week payment on top of ordinary benefits that are calculated as a percentage of income. This could disrupt the labor market further, the lawmakers warn.
“A massive drafting error in the current version of the coronavirus relief legislation could have devastating consequences: Unless this bill is fixed, there is a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work. This isn’t an abstract, philosophical point — it’s an immediate, real-world problem,” Tim Scott, Sasse and Graham said in a statement.
The White House and Senate leaders had come to an agreement on the $2 trillion package that is designed to boost the economy and provide aid to workers and businesses affected by the closing down of much of daily life in response to the coronavirus crisis.
But with the legislation nearing approval by the chamber, the Republican critics are warning that the text as written could incentivize layoffs, which they say could in turn lead to “life-threatening shortages” in health care and the food supply chain.
In the press conference, Sen. Tim Scott gave the example of someone in South Carolina making $20 an hour, or $800 a week, who could get up to $326 of unemployment benefits in the state, followed by another $600 a week in the federal benefit, meaning they would be earning more than their normal salary.
“This legislation would not stop at 100 percent of your income, this legislation would allow you in unemployment to make more than you do in employment,” Scott said. “We know that that is a drafting error and we are simply providing an amendment to fix that so you do not make more in unemployment than you do when you’re working.”
“Under this proposal…under unemployment you’d be making $24.07 an hour in South Carolina,” Graham said. “There are a lot of jobs that in South Carolina don’t pay $24.07 an hour.”
Graham also opened the door to the possibility that this was not a drafting error but said he was “concerned” that it was the explicit intention of Democrats.
“If this is not a drafting error then it’s the worst idea I’ve seen in a long time and that’s saying a lot given the fact that we’re in Washington,” he said.
It is good that we are praying about these issues as they are happening, intercessors. So far, much of the pork that was added that funded Planned Parenthood, the Kennedy Center, diversity training and carbon offsets, have been removed from the current bill. Many believe that no stimulus package should be passed at all. We need to continue to pray for wisdom for our leaders. Download our prayer guide, How to Pray the News–a great reminder of how we can interact with the news by intercession. Click here to get your copy: https://www.ifapray.org/promo/news/