(CNN)The Labor Department has exhausted its options for continuing to pay an extra $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits to jobless people in the 22 GOP-led states that are ending them early, an administration official told CNN Thursday.
Roughly 3.6 million out-of-work Americans will forgo a total of $21.7 billion in benefits as a result of the state actions, according to an analysis by The Century Foundation. Texas, Indiana and South Carolina are among those terminating the pandemic jobless programs early.
“There is nothing we can do,” the official said, adding that the department has tried to figure out a solution. “Taking away their lifeline isn’t going to help anything.”
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Over the past two weeks, a succession of Republican governors has opted to terminate one or more of the programs contained in the historic federal expansion of the unemployment system. They have cited workforce shortages and the improving economy as the reasons behind their decisions.
The enhanced payments — which Congress first approved in its massive coronavirus relief plan in March 2020 and twice extended — are keeping Americans from returning to the labor market, the governors say. At least four states will offer return-to-work bonuses instead.
In addition to providing the $300 weekly supplement, lawmakers expanded benefits to freelancers, th
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