WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen John Joyce, M.D. (PA-13) and John Curtis (UT-3) recently introduced H.R.7959, the Returning Inappropriate Cash Handouts (RICH) Act, which prohibits certain individuals from receiving temporary federal unemployment benefits authorized during the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation specifically bars individuals with an income this year that exceeds $1 million from accessing these funds.
“Congress acted decisively to deliver targeted assistance to the hardworking Americans who are struggling as we combat the coronavirus crisis,” Joyce said. “Millionaires shouldn’t be profiting on the backs of American taxpayers. The RICH Act will ensure that coronavirus relief reaches the American workers who need it most. I’m proud to work with Congressman Curtis to protect our workers and steward Americans’ tax dollars responsibly, and I thank Senator Ernst for championing this effort in the Senate.”
“These are some of the most difficult times in our nation’s history. With unemployment levels at a record high, local economies across the country are working tirelessly to reopen in the safest way possible to help get Americans back to work,” said Curtis. “In the meantime, our goal should be to deliver targeted aid to those who desperately need it and we need to draw the line someplace. That’s what our bill seeks to do.”
Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senate Republican Caucus Vice Chair, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).
The U.S. Department of Labor currently prohibits state unemployment programs from denying unemployment claims to a person who lost a job even if the individual receives income from multiple sources. More than 2,500 individuals with an income of over $1 million received unemployment insurance benefits in tax year 2017 alone.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act temporarily authorized the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which offered an additional $600 per week in federal unemployment payments to millions of Americans who recently lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Under this provision, potentially thousands of individuals with incomes of greater than $1 million this year may have received these supplemental payments on top of state unemployment benefits.
The RICH Act would protect benefits for the American workers who need them the most, while also ensuring that taxpayers are not required to fund these inappropriate payments for the wealthiest Americans.