By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4/AP) – A crowd of restaurant workers are calling on Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner to support the extension of a $600 a week boost in unemployment benefits. Gardner says he does support it.

The group marched on Friday from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to Gardner’s office in Denver.

(credit: CBS)

The added benefit is set to expire on July 31. The group held a mock funeral procession, calling it a matter of life and death.

Some Republicans say a benefit of $600 creates a disincentive for workers to go back to work. They want to trim it back to $200 and possibly include a bonus for those who accept job offers. The White House has floated cutting the benefit to as little as $100.

Gardner’s campaign spokesperson Jerrod Dobkin says, “Sen. Gardner’s main concern is making sure Coloradans get through this pandemic so that people are able to survive, and individuals know that the’re going to be okay. Sen. Gardner wants to see a compromise to extending the enhanced unemployment benefit and will continue to fight to ensure Coloradans get through these challenging times.”

Gardner is also pushing for more money for nationwide testing for COVID-19 and, he says, he is open to more aid for states and local governments.

Negotiations over the next COVID-19 rescue bill are in flux. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent senators home for the weekend, promising a Republican proposal would be ready on Monday.

(credit: CBS)

Outraged Democrats warned that time is being wasted on GOP infighting as the virus worsens. One sticking point for Republicans trying to develop their plan with the White House is how to trim back a $600 unemployment benefit boost.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Audra Streetman

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