Wisconsin unemployment: Republicans urge pandemic bonus end

A group of Wisconsin Republican congressmen, led by Sen. Ron Johnson, is urging Gov. Tony Evers to end the weekly federal unemployment bonus – $300 per week – according to a Friday, May 14 news release.

At least 18 states have decided over the past week to prematurely cut off such aid, according to FOX Business; the federal supplemental benefit is not slated to expire until Sept. 6.

GOP leaders from those states say the move will help businesses hire that are struggling to hire employees.

The state learned earlier in the week it would be receiving less federal coronavirus relief than initially expected, news the governor and Sen. Tammy Baldwin, both Democrats, said was problematic.

"This will significantly reduce the funding that will be available for Wisconsin’s current pandemic response operations and to continue to meet immediate needs and restore economic well-being," they wrote.

Gov. Evers had said he wanted to spend $2.5 billion on economic relief for families, tourism, workers and small-business owners, $500 million on the continued pandemic response and $200 million on infrastructure, including broadband. He has not said how the state’s reduced payment will affect his plans for spending the money.

The Associated Press and Fox Business contributed to this report.

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Statements from Wisconsin Republicans

Sen. Ron Johnson

"The biggest problem businesses in Wisconsin face now is finding people willing to turn down government subsidies and go back to work. We are paying people not to work, so employers cannot hire the people they need to run their manufacturing plants or be in the service industry. Governor Evers is only hurting more Wisconsin businesses by continuing down this path. We need to get government out of the way, and let people start living productive lives again." 

Rep. Glenn Grothman

"One thing I hear from business owners across the 6th District is that they are having trouble finding employees due to the increased unemployment benefits authorized by Congress. How can we expect our local economies to bounce back if people are incentivized to stay on the sidelines rather than returning to work? Governor Evers has a chance to be a leader and make a decision that will benefit workers, businesses, and the entire state of Wisconsin."

Rep. Mike Gallagher

Last week’s jobs report showed that if you pay people not to work, they won’t work. Jobs are available across Northeast Wisconsin and our economy is ready to roar. It’s time to end this program and get people back to work."

 Rep. Bryan Steil

"We need to get our way of life back. Employers across Wisconsin are reducing business hours, cutting services, and shutting their doors because they are unable to find workers to fill family-supporting jobs. Wisconsinites want to work, but Pelosi and Biden’s policies have made that increasingly difficult. While Biden and Pelosi’s policies have brought Wisconsin to this point, Governor Evers must reverse course. We need to get workers back to work by ending inefficient and wasteful incentives. I call on Governor Evers to immediately take action and help Wisconsin workers get back to work.

Rep. Tom Tiffany

"Policies that discourage people from getting back to work are a lose-lose proposition. It simply doesn’t make sense to pay people to stay home when so many employers are desperate for help."

Rep. Scott Fitzgerald

"Many small businesses in southeastern Wisconsin have reached out to tell me that they’re hiring, but can’t find workers. The primary hiring challenge echoed among these business owners is the federal unemployment bonus. In light of many recent announcements from the CDC, it is overwhelmingly clear that for the vast majority of Americans, it is safe to return to work. As such, I urge Governor Evers to take a stand and get Wisconsinites back in the workforce by ending the $300 per week federal unemployment bonus."


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