Expanded federal unemployment benefits, put in place as an emergency measure during the COVID-19 pandemic, are on course to become another long-term “welfare trap,” a government fiscal watchdog group warns in a new report.
Under emergency response legislation, the federal government expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits, extended the number of weeks, and gave bonuses to state unemployment benefits. The expansion will sunset in September, but congressional Democrats have pressed President Biden for an extension. The benefits have been extended before.
“It has started to look more like welfare and more like another piece of the welfare package. It’s starting to look like a long-term benefits program rather than a short-term temporary supplement it was supposed to be,” Alli Fick, a senior research fellow with the Foundation for Government Accountability, told Fox News. “Unemployment insurance program should promote work and reject government dependency.”
Fick wrote the FGA study that dug into the legislative history of federal unemployment insurance when it began in 1935 as part of the New Deal, going through committee reports and hearing debates.