As the U.S. continues to face an economic crisis due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Republicans and Democrats have a different approach to additional financial support for Americans. Top congressional Republicans have been floating the idea of a “back-to-work” bonus as an alternative to direct payments.

Under the Cares Act stimulus package passed in March, those receiving state unemployment would receive an additional $600 a week in benefits from the federal government. Some Republicans believe these enhanced unemployment benefits are too lucrative and entice individuals to stay home instead of going back to work. These “back-to-work” bonus proposals would encourage individuals to return to the workplace by offering a financial incentive. 

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, proposes $450 a week to those who were unemployed and returned back to work. The benefit would last through July 31, the same day the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits expires. This proposal would only help those who were unemployed and have now returned to work. 

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, suggests a “$1,200 hiring bonus” to those returning back to work under his Reopening America by Supporting Workers Act legislation. Individuals on unemployment benefits who return to work by July 31 would be able to claim this bonus. 

These “back-to-work” bonuses only help those who actually find employment, but this could be a challenge in the current job market. In April, 20.5 million jobs were lost, with the unemployment rate jumping up to 14.7%. In May, 2.5 million jobs were unexpectedly added, with unemployment dropping to 13.3%. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the economy would undergo a slow recovery, with unemployment remaining at 9.3% by the end of the year.

Democrats have proposed another stimulus check for individuals in the Heroes Act financial package passed in the House in May. The Heroes Act includes a payment of $1,200 to those making up to $75,000. Individuals making up to $99,000 would receive a smaller amount, depending on their salary. Married couples making less than $150,000 would receive $2,400. Families would receive $1,200 each for up to three dependents, with one household eligible for up to $6,000 in total payments. 

Top Republicans have called the Heroes Act “dead on arrival,” but another stimulus check could still be approved. Lawmakers and the White House will discuss the next stimulus package in late July. 

Coronavirus cases have been spiking in sunbelt states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona. As of Saturday at 11:20 a.m. ET, there are 2,469,441 cases in the U.S. and a domestic death toll of 125,081.