(CNN)Democrats in Washington have approved trillions of dollars to help Americans weather the coronavirus pandemic, but Republican state officials are pulling back relief for low-income Americans by turning away federal money.
In little more than a week, 17 governors have announced they’ll be cutting off pandemic unemployment benefits early, the latest being West Virginia on Friday. This could cost nearly 2 million people as much as $10.8 billion in payments, according to a recent analysis by The Century Foundation.
The moves echo the refusal by GOP-led states to participate in Medicaid expansion under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act — a resistance that persists, as Missouri’s Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that his state would not implement a voter-approved Medicaid expansion on July 1 for budget reasons.
He and other Republican officials in the dozen red-led states that have yet to expand Medicaid aren’t stepping up to take advantage of a big sweetener that Democrats included in their recent $1.9 trillion relief package. Those states that broaden Medicaid will receive a 5-percentage-point boost in their federal matching funds for two years.
While Republicans in Washington focus on ridding the party of leaders perceived as disloyal to former President Donald Trump — this week ousting Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from the House leadership — GOP governors are leaning into the longstanding party orthodoxy of advocating for paychecks instead of government handouts.
Are you at risk of losing your benefits early? Tell us about it here.
States aren’t on the hook to pay the billions of dollars of benefits to millions of their residents — Congress made sure that the federal government would pick up the tab when it passed its historic expansion of the nation’s unemployment ben
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