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Rick Scott could stop fast-tracking of rescue bill over increase in unemployment benefits

He and three other Republicans say measure could destroy economy.

Sen. Rick Scott says increased unemployment benefits in a proposed rescue package make the bill untenable.

“Once we get this crisis behind us, we shouldn’t have policies in place that disincentivize people from returning to the workforce,” Scott wrote on Twitter.

He and three other Senate Republicans could stop the bill’s passage over a $600 per week increase in payment to displaced workers. The group could stop the fast-tracking of legislation over the issue, according to Fox News.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said in a press conference the bill as written would “destroy what’s left of the economy.

Sens. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, and Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, joined with Graham and Rick Scott in thrashing the unemployment portion of he bill.

“We have a virus and we know people can’t work for a variety of reasons,” Rick Scott said at the press conference, according to McClatchy DC.

“We got to help them but at the moment we go back to work, we cannot create an incentive not to work. We cannot be paying people more money on unemployment than they get paid in their job.”

If the four Senators demand a formal vote of the bill, it will delay passage likely for days.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent and Democratic candidate for President, slammed the Republicans position on the bill. And he said if they block the fast-tracking he’s push for more corporate oversight, a sticking point in negotiations up until now.

“In my view, it would be an outrage to prevent working-class Americans to receive the emergency unemployment assistance included in this legislation,” he said in a statement.

“Unless these Republican Senators drop their objections, I am prepared to put a hold on this bill until stronger conditions are imposed on the $500 billion corporate welfare fund to make sure that any corporation receiving financial assistance under this legislation does not lay off workers, cut wages or benefits, ship jobs overseas, or pay workers poverty wages.”

The concern for the Republican Senators, meanwhile, is that the $600 comes on top of benefits normally provided through state governments.

But the cluster of opposition comes as the White House and Senate leaders announced the end of an impasse and an agreement on the $2-trillion emergency bill. The legislation will also rush aid to businesses, workers and a health care system.

The pricy legislation, more than the George W. Bush administration’s bank bailouts or Barack Obama administration’s stimulus package put together, has been the subject of intense negotiations over the last week with Democrats initially threatening to stop a version supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Rick Scott has expressed reservations about any legislation that served as a corporate bailout. He has said it would be a wiser approach to issue a moratorium on rent, mortgages and utility payments.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at

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