Schrader votes against federal pandemic relief

Rep. Kurt Schrader speaks with a constituent at Claggett Creek Middle School in 2018.

Rep. Kurt Schrader, Keizer’s representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, was one of two Democrats to vote against a largely popular pandemic relief bill on Saturday, Feb. 27.

The bill, which was approved in a 219-212 vote, would pour new cash into the pockets of individuals, businesses, states and cities. Neither Schrader nor his office issued any public statement regarding his opposition.

Schrader had previously signaled opposition to more than $300 per week in additional support for those on unemployment benefits as a result of the pandemic. He offered no public statement regarding the reasoning for his vote Saturday, Feb. 27. 

In a December Zoom call with members of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, Schrader said, “Six hundred dollars a week was way above what a lot of folks are actually earning. It was a disincentive to go back to work. If you’re in a tough situation like this, everyone has to cut back and manage things a little better. But they shouldn’t do it without a little bit of help from the state or the federal government.”

The new bill includes an additional $400 per week and extends the assistance through August.

In late 2020, a Yale University study found that workers who received the unemployment subsidy, even if it resulted in a boosted take-home pay, returned to work at a similar rate to those who had smaller increases in take-home pay. The study concluded that the extra money kept the nation from falling further into economic ruin. 

The Senate must approve the measure before any of the money flows out of Washington, D.C.