Texas, Indiana, and Oklahoma on Monday announced that they will be joining a growing number of GOP-led states in ending the expanded federal unemployment benefits that were implemented during last year’s pandemic relief efforts.
In a letter to the Biden administration, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that the $300 weekly extra payments under the president’s new $1.9 trillion stimulus plan will end on June 26, ahead of its September expiration date. He joins at least a dozen other governors, all Republicans, who are opting out of the additional federal unemployment benefits this summer. Republicans argue that these benefits have discouraged people from returning to the workforce and have become a drag on the recovery. Abbott said in his letter that the Texas economy is “booming” and employers are hiring in communities throughout the state. Citing the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), the Republican governor said that the number of job openings in the state is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment benefits. That assessment, Abbott said, doesn’t include the voluminous jobs that typically are not listed, such as construction and restaurant jobs. Abbott said the state must focus on helping unemployed Texans connect with the more than a million job openings, rather than paying unemployment benefits to remain off the employment rolls.
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