January 15, 2021

Game-Changer: Top House Democrats On Biden Support For Automatic Triggers

Today Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08), incoming Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, and New Democrat Coalition (NDC) Chair Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and NDC Chair-Emeritus Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06), expressed their delight at President-elect Biden’s game-changing support for automatic stabilizers, tying unemployment benefits to pandemic and economic conditions.  

In the summer of 2020, Beyer and New Democrat Coalition leaders put forth a legislative proposal to automatically trigger continued and adjusted enhanced unemployment benefits through the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis. Over 100 House Democrats signed onto a letter asking House leaders to consider the proposal.

The New Dem Leaders said:

“The incoming Biden-Harris Administration’s economic plan is a bold vision that will take aggressive steps to end the pandemic and save the American economy. We support the President-elect’s proposal to tie enhanced federal unemployment benefits to health and economic conditions. Twice in 2020 these benefits lapsed because of political fights, and millions of Americans were cut off of aid they desperately needed. We have long argued for automatic triggers to prevent these harmful lapses and make sure people get the assistance they need for as long as they need it. The incoming Administration’s support is critical – having an ally in the White House will make an enormous difference as we make the argument for this policy to our colleagues. We look forward to a renewed push to build support for automatic triggers, which are already popular across the political spectrum, in Congress.”

President-elect Biden’s American Rescue Plan proposes “to extend these emergency unemployment insurance programs through September 2021,” after which Biden says he “will work with Congress on ways to automatically adjust the length and amount of relief depending on health and economic conditions so future legislative delay doesn’t undermine the recovery and families’ access to benefits they need.” Beyer and New Democrat Coalition leaders, along with Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), initially introduced their framework for automatic stabilizer legislation, the Worker Relief and Security Act, last May, and followed up with a full bill in July. Some of the economists and policy thinkers who helped their legislative push with advice and advocacy have since been named to prominent economic posts by the President-elect.