SEE: C-SPAN Clip from Senator Lindsey Graham’s Press Conference this Morning
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Americans prepare for an economic downturn that could make the Great Recession look mild in comparison, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) is busy complaining that the strengthened unemployment benefits that Senate progressives insisted on in the tentative coronavirus response bill are TOO GENEROUS.
Graham dusts off an old debunked right-wing talking point to claim robust jobless benefits will disincentivize people from seeking work – ridiculously glossing over the reality that many people won’t be able to work in the middle of this full-scale pandemic. Worse, he questions the integrity of America’s nurses, asserting they’d opt to sit at home collecting benefits rather than stay on the front lines of the health crisis helping people. Never mind that in the past most people on jobless benefits try to get back to work as soon as possible – but for the foreseeable future, that will not be possible for many. Even Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this wouldn’t be a disincentive to American workers. In normal times, Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits are one of the most effective economic stimulus measures that often create jobs because it puts money in the pockets of people ready to spend it quickly. These aren’t normal times. UI benefits need to be as robust and accessible as possible in this crisis to keep millions of Americans from financial freefall.
“Strong benefits for unemployed people are one of the few bright spots in this bill, but Lindsay Graham somehow thinks $600 a week is too much for the typical hard-working American,” said Derek Martin, spokesperson for government watchdog group Accountable.US. “Senator Graham needs to get out of the way, and let this package pass so workers in South Carolina and across the country will know they have a safety net as the country faces economic uncertainty in the midst of this public health crisis.”