Biden to Address Economy as G.O.P. Takes Aim at Jobless Benefits

Biden to Address Economy as G.O.P. Takes Aim at Jobless Benefits


President Biden is set to announce on Monday afternoon efforts to make it easier for employers to hire new workers and to help more people take jobs, following several days of criticism from Republicans over a disappointing employment report released on Friday.

A White House official who was not authorized to speak on the record about the president’s scheduled remarks said Mr. Biden would announce new measures to get Americans back to work.

The official suggested that many of those efforts would be related to the continued implementation of the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion economic aid bill that Mr. Biden signed into law in March. Those efforts include dispersing more than $360 billion to state, local and tribal governments, along with assistance to child-care providers and aid to employers for rehiring and retraining workers.

The Labor Department reported on Friday that the economy added 266,000 jobs in April, well below the 1 million jobs that most forecasters expected. Republicans quickly criticized Mr. Biden for the disappointment and blamed a provision in his rescue plan that extended a $300-per-week federal supplement for unemployed Americans. They say those benefits are depressing hiring by discouraging Americans from returning to work.

“It is a terrible jobs report, not what we were expecting at all,” Gov. Spencer Cox, Republican of Utah, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “But that’s what happens when we pay people not to work.”

Mr. Biden will discuss the rules of unemployment insurance benefits on Monday, the White House official said. That could mean reiterating that workers who turn down job offers are ineligible to receive state and federal unemployment aid, including the $300 supplement.

Karl Rove, the Republican strategist and former aide to President George W. Bush, said on “Fox News Sunday” that “I had dinner last week with about eight C.E.O.’s of companies from around the country, mostly family-run, privately held companies. And I said, what’s the No. 1 issue you’re facing? Every one of them said, ‘I — we can’t get enough workers.’ Particularly, and this caught my ear. They said, ‘If the job pays $50,000 or $60,000 or less, it is virtually impossible for us to find workers.’”

An aide to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, emailed reporters on Monday, accusing Mr. Biden of placing “handcuffs” on the recovery by extending the jobless benefits.

Mr. Biden rejected that argument on Friday, saying in remarks at the White House that “the data shows that more workers are looking for jobs and many can’t find them.”

The president is also meeting with lawmakers on Monday, including Democratic Senators Tom Carper of Delaware and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, concerning his infrastructure plan.



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