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FreedomWorks Co-Leads Letter With FGA to End Pandemic Unemployment Programs and Anti-Work Child Tax Credit

Today, the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) sent a letter co-led with FreedomWorks to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell with a total of two dozen aligned policy and advocacy organizations to prioritize ending all federal pandemic unemployment programs and not making the anti-work changes (via ARP) to the child tax credit permanent.

The full letter is available on FGA’s website as a PDF here, as well as pasted and attached separately below.


July 27, 2021

The Honorable Mitch McConnell United States Senate 317 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Minority Leader McConnell:

Our national debt from the past year now exceeds the cumulative deficits for the first 200 years of our country’s existence. The enormity of recent federal spending is driving inflation rates up and jeopardizing the long-term health and immediate growth of our economy. It is absolutely vital that we recommit ourselves to fiscal responsibility so American families and businesses can thrive.

Various unemployment and welfare programs created or expanded in response to the pandemic are now disincentivizing a return to work. In some cases, individuals with two dependents can collect more than $44,000 per year in cash-style benefits, all in lieu of work at a time when there are 9.3 million open jobs. While Senate Democrats are pushing to make many of the pandemic programs permanent, we must make it a priority to end these policies because they are keeping Americans on the sidelines by discouraging work and encouraging continued dependency.

Therefore, as part of any discussions surrounding a potential debt ceiling increase or any new spending, we urge you to consider the following priorities and make them preconditions to any legislation that once again raises or suspends the debt ceiling, or appropriates more dollars:

  • End all federal pandemic unemployment programs on time, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC). More than 65 percent of business owners agree that the $300 federal unemployment payments specifically are making it more difficult to hire. A majority also say they have had to turn down business opportunities, and that their workers are suffering lower morale from heavier-than-normal workloads. Voters are also nearly twice as likely to identify these bonus programs as the cause for people staying on unemployment than low wages. A majority of states have announced their early opt-out of these programs, and multiple polls show voters agree with that decision. Additionally, states that announced June opt-outs are enjoying more than double the reduction in unemployment claims as states keeping the programs until September. In fact, since May, opt-out states have seen a 35 percent drop in new claims, and 19 percent drop in people on unemployment overall.

  • Do not make the anti-work changes to the Child Tax Credit permanent. Much of the $44,000 in cash-type benefits referenced above comes from transforming the child tax credit into a costly new welfare program. The credit was designed to provide tax relief for working families, not disincentive work as it does now by providing handouts to non-working parents. Any permanent extension of these negative changes would cost trillions of dollars and could leave more low-income Americans out of the economic recovery. In a recent poll, a majority of American voters—53 percent—want the increase in the child tax credit to expire as planned. Only one-third want to see it continue.

As this nation works to return to normal, our commitment must return to fiscal responsibility and sensible policy. As you would agree, our party believes in reducing dependency, facilitating wealth creation for all, and serving as good stewards of the federal budget and taxpayer dollars. Those ideals, which are informed by our fundamental belief in the dignity of work and value of the individual, are paramount to exercising good judgment as members of the Senate.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. As always, we remain grateful for your leadership and service.

Sincerely,

Tarren Bragdon
President and CEO
Foundation for Government Accountability

Adam Brandon President FreedomWorks

Ryan Ellis President
Center for a Free Economy

Seton Motley President Less Government

Andrew Langer
President
Institute for Liberty

Michael Melendez Executive Vice President Libertas Institute

Phil Kerpen President
American Commitment

Andrew F. Quinlan President Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Steve Moore
Co-Founder
Committee to Unleash Prosperity

Daniel Mitchell Chairman Center for Freedom and Prosperity

James Taylor
President
Heartland Institute

David Williams President Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Carrie Lukas
President
Independent Women’s Forum

Heather Higgins CEO Independent Women’s Voice

Brent Wm. Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer
Americans for Prosperity

Brooke Rollins President and CEO America First Policy Institute

Jenny Beth Martin
Honorary Chairman
Tea Party Patriots Action

Brett Healy President The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy

CJ Szafir
President
Institute for Reforming Government

David McIntosh President Club for Growth

Tom Schatz President
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Jon Caldara President Independence Institute

Dave Trabert
Chief Executive Officer Kansas Policy Institute

Jameson Taylor CEO and President Center for Political Renewal