Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina used examples from his personal life in order to push against the continuation of unemployment benefits across the United States as employers struggle finding workers to fill positions.
In a hearing, Graham discussed unemployment benefits with Shalanda Young, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
“There’s a lot of jobs out there that are unfilled and will never be filled until you change the benefit structure. Does that logic make sense to you, given where we’re at in our economy?” Graham asked Young.
“I understand the logic, but I’ve also not met Americans who would prefer not to work,” Young said. “There’s a dignity to work in this country.”
Graham reportedly chuckled as he answered, “I got a lot of people in my family that ain’t working because they’re getting — I’ll show you some of my family.”
He went on, “Bottom line is I think there are people out there, they’re not bad people, but they’re not going to work for $15 an hour and make $23 unemployed. That doesn’t make you a bad person. If you’re working for $15 an hour, that makes you almost a chump.”
In March, President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief package provided “a $300 weekly boost, extend[ed] pandemic aid until Sept. 6 and offer[ed] a new tax waiver on the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits for many Americans,” per CNBC. Some Republicans have been against the unemployment compensation and assistance for a while, stating that the programs disincentivize people from working. As The Daily Wire reported in an analysis last month, multiple states are rejecting the federal government’s unemployment benefits, which shell out an additional $300 per week to people who claim unemployment, in an attempt to encourage people to return to the workforce.
Last week, according to The New York Times, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that while the Biden administration sees the funds as an “extra helping hand” for workers, some governors do not see it that way and “that’s OK,” she said.
“Every governor is going to make their own decision,” she noted.
As The Daily Wire reported last week, the “U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate fell from 6.1% to 5.8%.”
“The data, put out by the Department of Labor on Friday morning, fell short of economists’ expectations of job growth but passed expectations for the unemployment rate after April’s disastrous jobs report signaled critical issues in the United States’ recovery. Economists moderated their expectations from April to May, predicting 671,000 jobs added and an unemployment rate of 5.9%, according to The Wall Street Journal,” The Daily Wire noted.
“Nearly half of small business owners in the U.S. reported having unfilled job openings in May as employers attempt to entice former employees and new workers back into the workforce as states continue to lift pandemic restrictions, according to the [Wall Street] Journal,” per The Daily Wire.
On Friday, Biden spoke about the jobs report, saying, “This is progress — historic progress.” He claimed that the “progress” is “pulling our economy out of the worst crisis it’s been in in 100 years.”
Biden noted that “we’re going to hit some bumps along the way,” but stressed that “[n]ow is the time to build on the foundation we’ve laid, because while progress is undeniable, it is not assured.”