Johnson introduces ‘Get Americans Back to Work Act’ to address unemployment supplement
WASHINGTON — South Dakota House Rep. Dusty Johnson introduced the Get Americans Back to Work Act on Tuesday, designed to remove the federal supplemental unemployment benefit by June 30.
“There are a record eight million American jobs waiting to be filled and those who want the COVID-19 vaccine have access to it,” said Johnson. “We need to stop paying people more to sit at home than to work. It’s past time to get America back to work, and our bill does that.”
Job openings rose to 8.1 million in March – the most on record dating back to December 2000. The number of employed people rose by 266,000 in April, but the unemployment rate saw little change at 6.1%.
At least five states – Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, and South Carolina – are ending the $300-per-week supplement that is given on top of state unemployment benefits.
— Rep. Dusty Johnson (@RepDustyJohnson) May 11, 2021
Businesses in South Dakota – especially in hospitality, food service, and seasonal tourism – are facing a lack of workers for the 2021 season, leading to changing hours and closures to accommodate the staffing shortage.
“Finding workers is a tremendous challenge for Mom & Pop businesses across South Dakota,”said Nathan Sanderson, Executive Director of the South Dakota Retailers Association. “When a small fraction of our citizens are unemployed, and there are tens of thousands of job openings available, any disincentive to work is an issue.”
A newly-announced partnership between the South Dakota Department of Tourism and Labor & Regulation hopes to solve the workforce problem for the state’s tourism businesses. Governor Kristi Noem said that the campaign would “recruit more workers to our state to support tourism, our second largest industry.”
The Get Americans Back to Work Act was also supported by Reps. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Randy Feenstra (R-IA), Randy Weber (R-TX), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), Jody Hice (R-GA), Tim Burchett (R-TN), Roger Williams (R-TX), Greg Steube (R-FL), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), and Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kevin Kramer (R-ND), Steve Daines (R-MT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL), Mike Braun (R-IN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).
Additionally, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called for the additional $300-a-week supplemental unemployment benefit to end.
South Dakota Senator John Thune has tweeted recently about the struggle of finding workers for small businesses:
I’m hearing the same thing from small businesses in South Dakota. They have job openings and are offering competitive wages and even some bonus benefits, but they just can’t find workers because of unemployment benefits. https://t.co/BIedthKnSi
— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) May 11, 2021