At least five states have passed legislation boosting unemployment insurance for workers who lose their jobs for being unvaccinated, and several more states are considering similar protections.
Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee have extended unemployment benefits for workers fired for not getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Lawmakers in Wyoming, Wisconsin, and Missouri are considering similar worker protections in a Republican-led effort to fight back against President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine orders, which cover millions of private workers and federal contractors, according to The Washington Post.
Of the states that have boosted unemployment insurance for unvaccinated workers, only Kansas is run by a split government with a Democratic governor and GOP-controlled legislature. The rest of the states are under full GOP control at the state level.
Biden’s vaccine orders have sparked widespread and intense pushback from elected officials and private businesses. The Daily Wire is leading a legal challenge against one of Biden’s orders mandating that companies with at least 100 employees either vaccinate or regularly test workers for COVID-19. Any worker who refuses the vaccine or tests must be fired or the business will be fined a minimum of roughly $14,000 per infraction, according to the mandate.
Despite the Biden administration’s push for a federal fix for the spread of COVID-19, the president said on Monday during a call with state governors that “there is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level.”
Four of the states — Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, and Tennessee – cut federal emergency unemployment benefits in June over concerns that boosted unemployment insurance was incentivizing workers to stay home and out of the job market despite the reduced risk of severe COVID-19 after the widespread availability of vaccines. Those states are now boosting unemployment benefits again over the Biden administration’s orders that would strip unvaccinated Americans of employment.
The Biden administration’s orders are designed to coerce Americans to get vaccinated. Earlier this month, the president resorted to apocalyptic warnings to drive Americans to get vaccinated. As The Daily Wire reported:
President Biden on Thursday warned that unvaccinated Americans will be responsible for ushering in a “winter of severe illness and death” and will soon “overwhelm” hospitals.
“I want to send a direct message to the American people: Due to the steps we’ve taken, Omicron has not yet spread as fast as it would have otherwise done,” Biden told reporters after a COVID-19 briefing at the White House.
“But it’s here now and it’s spreading and it’s gonna increase,” the president added.
“We are looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated — for themselves, their families, and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm. But there’s good news: If you’re vaccinated and you have your booster shot, you’re protected from severe illness and death,” Biden said.
Biden also said that a vaccinated public will contribute to safeguarding the country’s economic recovery.
“We’re going to protect our economic recovery if we do this. We’re going to keep schools and businesses open if we do this. And I want to see everyone around enjoy that. I want to see them enjoy the fact that they’re able to be in school, that businesses are open and the holidays are coming,” Biden said.