WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Some Democrats in the U.S. Senate want the government to pay the wages and benefits of furloughed employees.
“Have the government directly pay a portion of people’s salary during the economic challenge,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said.
Warner, along with three other Democrats, call it the Paycheck Security Program, something they say is modeled after a system used in some European countries.
“In those countries, they’ve only seen a slight increase in unemployment because the government has gone ahead and just directly paid the paychecks for a percentage of each worker’s salary,” Warner said.
If passed, the program will cover salaries and wages for employees who make less than $90,000 dollars, as well as overhead operating expenses like rent and utilities for businesses shut down by the coronavirus crisis.
Alabama Sen. Doug Jones says this approach will help open the economy safely.
“This will give businesses and the individuals that cushion necessary so that we can do it the right way and not try to rush it,” Jones said.
Warner says he thinks this is a better method than the current Paycheck Protection Program that relies on banks to distribute funds.
“Let’s just make it simpler, make it easier to understand. Cut out the middleman,” Warner said.
Warner says he’s hoping to gain Republican support and knows some members of the opposing party who are preparing their own similar plans.