(CNN)Texas, Indiana and Oklahoma will end early the $300 weekly federal boost to state unemployment payments, as well as two other pandemic jobless benefits programs, according to the states’ Republican governors — joining 17 other GOP-led states in dropping the federal expanded benefits over the past two weeks.
The three states’ announcements on Monday mean that a total of nearly 3.7 million laid-off Americans will lose jobless payments in June or July instead of early September, according to an analysis by The Century Foundation. These workers will forgo a total of nearly $22 billion in benefits.
Republican governors have cited workforce shortages and the improving economy as the reasons behind their decisions. They argue that the generous benefits — which Congress first approved in its massive coronavirus relief plan in March 2020 and extended twice since — are keeping Americans from returning to the labor market.
In addition to providing the $300 supplement, lawmakers expanded benefits to freelancers, the self-employed, independent contractors and certain people affected by the pandemic and extended the duration of payments for those in the regular state unemployment program.
Three states terminate benefits next month
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter on Monday to the Department of Labor announcing that the state would withdraw from the federal programs on June 26. This would affect more than 1.3 million jobless residents, according to The Century Foundation.
“The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities throughout the state,” Abbott said in a statement. “According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment benefits.”
“There are nearly 60% more jobs open (and listed) in Texas today than there was in February 2020, the month before the Pandemic hit Texas,” he asserted, without counting the many jobs in industries typically not listed such construction and restaurant service.
Abbott’s office also alleged high levels of unemplo
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