President Joe Biden is giving an ultimatum to Americans currently receiving unemployment benefits.
According to Fox Business, Biden said last week that “anyone collecting unemployment” who is offered a job must take it, or risk losing their benefits.
“We’re going to make it clear to anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job they must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits,” the president said at the White House.
Biden went on to say he’d work to make it easier for businesses to hire new employees, including by forking out upwards of $350 million allocated as part of the latest federal COVID-19 relief bill, as Fox Business reported.
“They can’t find people”
Biden’s comments come just days after the Labor Department released its jobs report for the month of April — and the latest numbers didn’t exactly paint a promising picture of the president’s performance.
Just 266,000 new jobs were added in April, a far cry from experts’ predictions for the month, which suggested as many as 1.25 million could be added. Biden also fell far short of his goal of adding 2 million jobs to the U.S. economy during the first 100 days of his presidency, Breitbart noted.
Some say jobless rates remain high because of increased unemployment benefits essentially serving as incentives not to work. Accordingly, state leaders, including Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R), are cutting off expanded benefits — coming in the form of an extra $300 per week, included in the last federal coronavirus relief package — in hopes of encouraging their constituents to head back to work.
“Despite our economy’s strong comeback, many business owners and employers across the state are still struggling, not because of COVID-19, but because they can’t find people to fill the jobs to help address this labor shortage,” Parson said Tuesday, according to the Kansas City Star.
At the federal level, GOP Sen. Roger Marshall (KS) is reportedly teaming up with other Republican lawmakers to end the extra benefits nationwide.
“While there are certainly people that needed access to increased unemployment benefits during the heart of this pandemic, we should not be in the business of creating lucrative government dependency that makes it more beneficial to stay unemployed rather than return to work,” Marshall said, as the Star reported.
Still, the president insists the extra payouts have nothing to do with April’s bleak numbers.
“We’ll insist that the law is followed with respect to benefits, but we’re not going to turn our backs on our fellow Americans,” Biden said, according to Fox Business. “Twenty-two million people lost their jobs in this pandemic, through no fault of their own. For many of those folks, unemployment benefits are a lifeline.”