Sen. Marshall to Introduce Bill to Repeal Enhanced Unemployment Benefits

“At a time when our nation is on its way to reaching herd immunity and businesses are emerging from government imposed lockdowns, President Biden has delivered them a government imposed labor shortage.”

(Washington, D.C., May 7, 2021) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. issued the following statement after the release of today’s dismal Department of Labor (DOL) report showing an uptick in the unemployment rate to 6.1% and employers only adding 266,000 jobs in April. Additionally, Senator Marshall announced his plans to introduce legislation on Monday when the Senate returns from the work recess to repeal the increase in unemployment benefits brought on by President Biden and the Democrats. Earlier this year, Democrats forced through legislation without any Republican support that provided $300 more in unemployment benefits in turn making it more profitable for many Americans to stay unemployed.

“Throughout my travels across Kansas I hear constantly how employers are struggling to find people for open jobs because folks are staying at home due to the rich unemployment benefits and the stimulus checks that Democrats continue to enhance. 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,” said Senator Marshall. “At a time when our nation is on its way to reaching herd immunity and businesses are emerging from government imposed lockdowns, President Biden has delivered them a government imposed labor shortage. For these reasons, I intend to introduce legislation when the Senate returns from recess that repeals these enhanced unemployment benefits and encourages Americans to return to work.”

Background:

Millions Are Unemployed. Why Can’t Companies Find Workers? (WSJ) …Domino’s Pizza Chief Executive Richard Allison said last week that the labor market right now in the U.S. is creating the most difficult staffing environment the company has seen in a long time. “The real pinch point in the business is drivers,” he said on the company’s earnings conference call… Under relief bills passed by Congress, those receiving jobless benefits get an additional $300 a week on top of regular state benefits, which average $318 a week, according to the Labor Department. That means the average unemployment recipient earns better than the equivalent of working full time at $15 an hour. Those enhanced benefits are available until September, for a maximum of nearly 18 months—about three times longer than most states typically allow.

New homes cost $36,000 more because of an epic shortage of lumber (KAKE) … Chesson said his company would love to build more homes to meet surging demand but currently it can’t find the materials, or labor, to do so. “It’s absolutely contributing to a shortage of housing,” he said… The lumber shortage is just the latest example of how the rapid economic recovery from the pandemic is pushing supply chains to the limit. Manufacturers are desperate for workers. Smartphone, auto and appliance production is being sidelined by a shortage of computer chips. And the lack of tanker truck drivers has raised the specter of gas stations running on empty this summer.

Montana to Feds: No More No-Work Bonus (WSJ) The economy is roaring back as government lockdowns finally end, and employers are struggling to find workers. Enter Montana with a novel idea: telling the feds that it doesn’t want their extra payments for not working… Montana’s smart move proves again that Congress did far more harm than good with its bonus jobless benefit, and it could help the job market recover faster by repealing it.

Restaurants, hotels face staff shortages, struggle to hire as business returns (KOMO News) After a devastating year struggling to survive during the pandemic, many hotels and restaurants now face a new challenge – they can’t find help… Some people aren’t going back to work because they can’t find child care. Others are counting on extended unemployment benefits. “There are continued unemployment extension benefits that are at least significant enough to give people room to reconsider their career,” said Hirschler. “People are being more choosy than ever when it comes to where they are going to work – whether that’s to fulfill some sort of obligation they might have with the unemployment office, as they return to the labor force, or maybe they’re just job seeking to continue their benefits, or it’s they’re going to be very particular about the place they choose to work,” said Krueger. “Regardless, it’s yielding the same result, which is people are not sticking around to inquire about a job that we ultimately hire.”

Why Your Grocery Bills Are Going Up (And Are Only Expected to Get Bigger) (Foundation for Economic Education) …Other producers in the agriculture sector have struggled to obtain the workers needed to ramp up production. Across the country, small businesses have been unable to attract Americans back to the workplace as many remain on increased unemployment benefits that pay more than work…

High trucking costs are expected to last through 2021, adding to retailers’ challenges (Business Insider)Rising freight costs have been a problem since last year. At the time, trucking companies began offering huge wage increases to attract drivers to the industry. The lack of drivers has since been complicated by a semi-conductor shortage keeping new trucks from coming on the market, the Journal said.

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