TENNESSEE (WATE) — Tennessee will be dropping federal pandemic unemployment compensation programs as of July 3, as Governor Bill Lee touts Tennesseans have access to over 250,000 jobs across the state.
Leaders with the Democratic Caucus are condemning Gov. Lee’s decision to end the programs.
Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) stated via Twitter that, “It is reprehensible that @GovBillLee has cut the $300 federal portion of unemployment. I spoke this week with a mom with 6 kids who desperately needed that money. This is cruel and inhuman.”
Meanwhile, Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) praises the decision by tweeting, “Appreciate @GovBillLee’s leadership in opting TN out of the $300 weekly federal supplement. This will push our state toward full employment and benefit all Tennesseans as businesses can move back to full capacity. #Leadership”
Senator Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) says, “More than 200,000 Tennesseans have been laid off since Jan. 1 and the Lee administration just made the irresponsible decision to punish their families in a time of need. That’s not leadership, it’s legislative violence. This callous decision highlights just how out of touch this administration is with the lives of everyday Tennesseans.”
Along with her, Representative Vincent Dixie (D-Nashville) says, “It’s difficult to describe this decision as anything other than ‘heartless.’ First, we cut the number of weeks that Tennesseans can collect unemployment and then we literally take money out of their pockets from a system they paid into. It’s a targeted, heartless assault on people who are simply trying to feed their families at the worst possible time.”
U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) is pushing to repeal the $300 in extra benefits, saying that this move has made it more profitable for Americans to remain unemployed.
Blackburn cosigned the Get Americans Back to Work Act to repeal the increase to unemployment benefits along with Republican representatives and senators.
“All across Tennessee, business owners are struggling to get workers back on the job,” said Senator Blackburn. “Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and Washington liberals are paying people more money to stay at home. It’s time to reduce big government handouts that incentivize Americans to remain unemployed now that jobs are plentiful.”