More than 784,000 people are jobless in their states during the pandemic.
Eleven Republican governors now say they will cut off a $300-a-week emergency federal subsidy for unemployed people in their states. Their decision could hurt hundreds of thousands of constituents and their families.
According to CNN, five more GOP governors announced on Tuesday that they will prematurely cancel the pandemic unemployment benefits that Congress made available through September — joining six who have already done so.
"It's time that we end these programs that have ultimately incentivized people to stay out of the workforce," Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons explained in a Tuesday tweet.
This is part of a national GOP push to punish the unemployed for worst-than-expected April jobs numbers.
Without evidence, Republican lawmakers blamed this on workers choosing to stay home "sitting on the front porch drinking coffee" and watching Netflix rather than going back into the workforce because the unemployment benefits were so lucrative.
They pointed to the $300-a-week emergency subsidy that was part of the American Rescue Plan, the pandemic relief package signed by President Joe Biden after being pushed through Congress by Democrats, without garnering a single GOP vote.
This, they argued — combined with the regular unemployment insurance — meant unemployment benefits provide more money than the sub-living-wage jobs many employers were offering. Experts say the bigger factors are lack of available child care and concerns about safety given the ongoing community spread of the coronavirus.
By cutting off the benefits, the governors are taking away about $1,200 a month from some of their most vulnerable constituents during a time of pandemic and related economic challenges.
Kay Ivey of Alabama
Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas
Brad Little of Idaho
Kim Reynolds of Iowa
Tate Reeves of Mississippi
The unemployment rate in Mississippi was 6.3% in March, with 80,270 people unemployed. This was above the national average. Still, Reeves wrote Monday that the federal funds "may have been necessary in May of last year but are no longer so in May of this year."
Mike Parson of Missouri
Greg Gianforte of Montana
Doug Burgum of North Dakota
Henry McMaster of South Carolina
Bill Lee of Tennessee
Mark Gordon of Wyoming
In total, 784,686 people were unemployed in those states. If each of them loses out on $300 a week, that means governors will be costing their citizens more than $235 million combined, weekly.
According to CNN, other GOP-run states are also expected to cut off the benefits for their unemployed.
During the debate over the American Rescue Plan, several GOP lawmakers falsely argued that it was nothing more than a "blue state bailout."
Now, thanks to GOP governors, many cash-strapped families in red states will have to get by with $1,200 a month less than their blue-state counterparts.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.