Despite Vaccines, Democrats Extended Extra Jobless Benefits — and Hiring Disappoints
‘It is May 2021. Vaccines are available nationwide. There are millions of open jobs. ‘Help Wanted’ signs from coast to coast. We should not still be taxing the Americans who are working to fund continued extra benefits for those staying home… Kentuckians and all Americans need our Democratic friends to govern accordingly.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Kentucky jobs and pandemic recovery:
“Like all my colleagues, I spent last week traveling my home state. I spoke with Kentuckians about where we’ve come over the past 15 months, where we are today, and the bright future we should have ahead.
“More than 1.8 million Kentuckians have received COVID vaccines. These medical miracles were created in record time by genius scientists plus Operation Warp Speed. And they are proving the pathway back to normalcy that we had hoped for.
“I was happy to get to visit the Baptist Health Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown to hear about their vaccination program and thank the staff for all their work.
“We should be on track for a fantastic American comeback summer. Full steam ahead. From vaccinations to job growth, the new Biden Administration inherited favorable trends in every direction, thanks to the five bipartisan rescue packages that Congress passed last year.
“But in several important ways, the decisions of elected Democrats have contributed to slowing the return to normalcy.
“We’ve seen some state and local officials bow to Big Labor and soft-pedal the clear science on school reopenings. And the big bill that Washington Democrats pushed through a couple months ago did not require schools to reopen in order to receive even more extra funding.
“The President and his team keep sending mixed messages about gatherings and wearing masks that sometimes break from their own CDC’s guidance for vaccinated Americans.
“Again, there almost seems to be some reluctance to let go of emergency measures, even to the point of clashing with science.
“And what about our economic recovery?
“Back in March, Democrats rammed through their so-called “American Rescue Plan,” a two-trillion-dollar partisan spending spree. It was packed with policies that seemed designed for March 2020, not March 2021.
“For example: Continuing to use taxpayer dollars to pay a special bonus for unemployed people to stay home rather than filling one of the growing numbers of job openings around our country.
“See, Republicans had this crazy idea that with vaccines flooding the country, with COVID-19 in retreat, it was time to actually reopen our country! Instead of spending even more of working families’ tax dollars to keep things shut down.
“Well, a few days ago, experts were stunned by a monthly jobs report for April that came in way below expectations. It was the first full month of data collected after the Democrats passed their so-called “rescue plan” — this bill they sold as a fast-acting, urgent, emergency measure that was going to bolster our recovery right away.
“This report was expected to show that more than a million American workers had gotten jobs back in the month of April. Instead, we added about one-fourth that many jobs.
“I’d just spent the prior week talking with Kentuckians. I spoke with workers and employers at nearly every size of business from just about every kind of industry — all the way across the spectrum.
“And from big national companies, to local chambers of commerce, to businesses like Manchester Tank in Campbellsville, we heard optimism, but also real concerns.
“Concerns about inflation and runaway costs. Concerns about backed-up supply chains.
“And, as Washington pays workers a bonus to stay unemployed, virtually everyone discussed very real concerns about their difficulties in finding workers to fill open positions.
“Almost every employer I spoke with specifically mentioned the extra-generous jobless benefits as a key force holding back our recovery.
“Now, I’ve heard some Democrats try to say that, whatever incentives Washington creates, the responsibility really falls on workers.
“But my friends on the other side can’t use the American people to shield their own bad ideas from scrutiny. Policy matters. Incentives matter.
“It is May 2021. Vaccines are available nationwide. There are millions of open jobs. ‘Help Wanted’ signs from coast to coast. We should not still be taxing the Americans who are working to fund continued extra benefits for those staying home.
“It’s not March 2020 anymore. It is May 2021. Kentuckians and all Americans need our Democratic friends to govern accordingly.”