Finance

Sasse to introduce legislation giving new hires signing bonuses after negative jobs report

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) is planning to introduce legislation that will give new hires signing bonuses following Friday's disappointing jobs report.

Sasse said in an emailed press release that he is introducing the National Signing Bonus Act, which would redirect expanded unemployment insurance into signing bonus payments.

The move comes amid GOP scrutiny of expanded pandemic unemployment benefits after Friday's job report, which fell far below expectations for the month of April.

"The emergency UI program is now penalizing people for going back to work. Now, as millions of Americans are vaccinated each day, we've got crummy job numbers," Sasse said in his statement. "We've got to get America and Americans up and running."   

Individuals who get a job by July 4 would get a bonus equal to "101 percent" of two months of the federal unemployment benefits.

The Department of Labor on Friday issued a report showing that the U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs last month, and that unemployment rose 6.1 percent. The numbers were far below the 1 million jobs that economists were expecting the U.S. to add.

Republicans blamed the poor showing on a provision of President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief law that extended enhanced $300-per-week unemployment benefits through September.

The GOP has argued that the enhanced benefit discourages people from returning to work because in some states, the unemployment insurance pays more than than minimum wage.

Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) said Friday that he would introduce a bill to phase out the weekly boost by the end of the month.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) have announced that their states will stop participating in pandemic-related unemployment benefits at the end of June, the first two states to make such moves.

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