State Watch

North Carolina senators tell governor to turn down federal unemployment benefits

Stefani Reynolds

North Carolina’s two GOP senators are telling Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to end federal unemployment benefits, saying that they are contributing to a shortage of workers in the state.

The employment shortage caused by exorbitant federal unemployment benefits is a real and serious threat to North Carolina’s recovery,” Republican Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) said in a joint statement

Over the last several weeks, we’ve heard from countless small, mid, and large-sized business owners across North Carolina struggling to hire enough workers to reopen this summer. Employers, particularly in hard-hit industries like tourism, service, and hospitality, are finding they can’t compete with excessive federal benefits,” the senators wrote.

The federal unemployment insurance program giving $300 per week is set to expire in September, but multiple states are opting out of the program early as businesses have begun to fully open due to coronavirus restrictions being lifted.

Florida announced on Monday that it will be leaving the program at the end of June.

Governor Cooper needs to acknowledge the existence of a problem and take action to fix it. While the governor recently announced he will finally start reinstating the job search requirement, that’s merely enforcing existing law. It’s not enough. The governor should immediately end expanded federal unemployment insurance and focus on incentives to encourage more people to return to the workforce, as nearly half of states already have,” the senators said.

However, other Republican lawmakers in North Carolina were planning to take the money from the unemployment program and use it to create signing bonuses for those who are unemployed and find a job, McClatchy reported.

A spokesperson for Cooper told The News & Observer that he is open to the signing bonuses plan by Republicans.

Tags Coronavirus expanded unemployment federal unemployment North Carolina relief bill Richard Burr Stimulus Thom Tillis

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