Gallagher Joins Delegation in Calling on Evers to End Federal Unemployment Plus Up

May 14, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) today joined Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and the rest of the WI delegation in urging Governor Tony Evers to end the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), the weekly federal unemployment bonus. In order to minimize the harm from this policy, Wisconsin’s Republican lawmakers are asking Governor Evers to end the $300 per week FPUC — as sixteen other states have now done.


Congressman Mike Gallagher said“Last week’s jobs report showed that if you pay people not to work, they won’t work. Jobs are available across Northeast Wisconsin and our economy is ready to roar. It’s time to end this program and get people back to work.”


Senator Ron Johnson said, “The biggest problem businesses in Wisconsin face now is finding people willing to turn down government subsidies and go back to work. We are paying people not to work, so employers cannot hire the people they need to run their manufacturing plants or be in the service industry. Governor Evers is only hurting more Wisconsin businesses by continuing down this path. We need to get government out of the way, and let people start living productive lives again.” 


Congressman Glenn Grothman said, “One thing I hear from business owners across the 6th District is that they are having trouble finding employees due to the increased unemployment benefits authorized by Congress. How can we expect our local economies to bounce back if people are incentivized to stay on the sidelines rather than returning to work? Governor Evers has a chance to be a leader and make a decision that will benefit workers, businesses, and the entire state of Wisconsin.”


Congressman Bryan Steil said, “We need to get our way of life back. Employers across Wisconsin are reducing business hours, cutting services, and shutting their doors because they are unable to find workers to fill family-supporting jobs. Wisconsinites want to work, but Pelosi and Biden’s policies have made that increasingly difficult. While Biden and Pelosi’s policies have brought Wisconsin to this point, Governor Evers must reverse course. We need to get workers back to work by ending inefficient and wasteful incentives. I call on Governor Evers to immediately take action and help Wisconsin workers get back to work."


Congressman Tom Tiffany said, “Policies that discourage people from getting back to work are a lose-lose proposition. It simply doesn’t make sense to pay people to stay home when so many employers are desperate for help.”


Congressman Scott Fitzgerald said, “Many small businesses in southeastern Wisconsin have reached out to tell me that they’re hiring, but can’t find workers. The primary hiring challenge echoed among these business owners is the federal unemployment bonus. In light of many recent announcements from the CDC, it is overwhelmingly clear that for the vast majority of Americans, it is safe to return to work. As such, I urge Governor Evers to take a stand and get Wisconsinites back in the workforce by ending the $300 per week federal unemployment bonus.”


Click HERE to read the letter or read the text below. 


Governor Tony Evers

115 East State Capitol 

Madison, WI 53702


The unemployment rate in Wisconsin currently stands at 3.8 percent. For the last few months, the primary issue Wisconsin employers consistently have raised is their inability to hire the workers they need to produce the products and services necessary to meet demand as the economy reopens.


These businesses have stated that the main reason they cannot hire people is that Congress has repeatedly extended Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), the weekly federal unemployment bonus. The businesses believe the unemployment bonus has incentivized people to stay home, where they are often paid more than they would earn by going back to work. This week, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) wrote to you to highlight these exact concerns, stating that the federal unemployment bonus “threatens the viability of thousands of businesses and the jobs they provide for workers.” WMC continued, “[I]f immediate action is not taken, there is a great likelihood that long-term and irreversible damage will be done to Wisconsin's economy.”


As you know, many of us supported the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136), which provided the initial federal unemployment bonus during the early stages of the pandemic. The circumstances we face today are far better than those encountered during the challenging spring of 2020. Accordingly, we echo the concerns of WMC and employers across the state that are struggling to fill jobs despite offering generous hiring bonuses and benefit packages. These concerns are part of the reason that we voted against the most recent COVID-19 relief package. In order to minimize the harm from this policy, we are asking you — as sixteen other states have now done — to end the $300 per week FPUC. Even the Biden Administration recognizes the problem these benefits are creating — his Administration is now directing the Department of Labor to work with states on re-imposing work-search requirements for Americans collecting unemployment benefits.


As one of President Obama’s former economic advisers, Larry Summers, has written, “Each unemployed person has a ‘reservation wage’ — the minimum wage he or she insists on getting before accepting a job. Unemployment insurance and other social assistance programs increase the reservation wage, causing an unemployed person to remain unemployed longer.” When you extend unemployment insurance, you extend unemployment. 


We urge you to follow the lead of these sixteen states and prevent the harm that WMC warns of. Wisconsin businesses and the Wisconsin economy will truly benefit from this action.


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