Wyden Statement on Republican Plan to Slash Unemployment Benefits
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released the following statement in reaction to new reporting on Republicans’ plan to slash unemployment benefits and sabotage state unemployment offices:
“Republicans had four months to come up with a plan, but are just now rolling out an unworkable proposal that would strip 30 million Americans of unemployment benefits that they have relied on to pay rent and buy groceries. Republicans are absolutely ignoring the suffering of our fellow American citizens.
“This plan would also be devastating to the broader economy. A new report from the Economic Policy Institute says that cutting the federal boost from $600 to $200 would cost the economy 3.4 million jobs.
“In addition, their plan would cripple state unemployment offices, delaying the deployment of benefits. State unemployment offices are operating with ancient technology and struggling to get benefits out the door as is. Any effort to make the system more complex is sabotage. It will result in workers losing their benefits and more workers falling through the cracks.
“Here is the worst of it: the low-wage workers who have been most likely to lose their jobs in this recession would be paid even less than their previous starvation wages. Cutting their benefits and making it even harder to make ends meet for the folks who had the least cushion to withstand an economic crisis is unconscionable.
“The answer here is my plan with Leader Schumer that would continue the $600 federal boost and phase it down gradually based on real, measurable economic conditions, not some political whim. Families should not have to live in fear every few months that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are going to pull the rug out from under them.”