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As the COVID-19 pandemic nears its end, it’s clear the economy should be returning to normal. But this Friday’s jobs report shows that the U.S. economy is still not on the swiftest road to recovery. With the unemployment rate dipping in dozens of states, the financial situation of millions of Americans is improving. But despite the best efforts of businesses around the nation, many of them are struggling to get their employees back.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In response to the rollout of the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protections, and Schools (HEALS) Act, Senate Republicans’ plan for the phase IV COVID-19 relief package, Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks President, commented:
Congress will return to Washington, D.C. next week. Although both chambers already have items on their respective agendas before the August recess begins, another phase of COVID-19 response legislation is expected to be considered. If text exists, few have seen it. Like the previous COVID-19 responses from Congress, the process is entirely controlled by congressional leadership.
On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Getting Americans Back to Work Act, H.R. 6805. Introduced by Reps. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.), the Getting Americans Back to Work Act would fix a glaring error in the CARES Act that could create a shortage of workers as states begin to reopen their economies.
A rushed legislative process often has unintended consequences. Language is hastily written. Policies that are included aren’t fully thought through. The most important thing in the minds of lawmakers is to “do something.” Certainly, something had to be done in response to COVID-19, but aspects of the Phase III response, the CARES Act, will almost certainly hurt the economic recovery. One aspect of the CARES Act that will hurt the recovery is the enhanced unemployment benefits for Americans who’ve lost their jobs due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Earlier this week, the Department of the Treasury released its requests to Congress for the third-phase of COVID-19 response legislation. This request includes $500 billion in direct payments to Americans, $300 billion in loans to small businesses, $150 billion to distressed industries, and $50 billion to the airline industry. Add it all up, and we’re looking at a $1 trillion package to address COVID-19, in addition to the roughly $110 billion that Congress has already spent in response to the pandemic.
Disappointing Jobs Report: Unemployment Remains at 9.6 Percent
As we’ve come to expect, yet another lackluster jobs report has been released. The highly anticipated Labor Department Jobs Report shows that only 151,000 jobs were added October. This slight increase in jobs was not enough to lower the official unemployment rate. For the third month in a row, the unemployment rate has been unchanged at 9.6 percent. Yet, this not even factor in the 1.2 million Americans who have altogether given up searching for a job.
Record Number of People Dependent on Government Programs
USA Today reports that a record number of Americans—one in six—are now dependent on government anti-poverty programs. Since the recession began in December 2007, the enrollment and cost of government programs have grown at an alarming rate.