DES MOINES, IOWA — The top Democrat in the Iowa House of Representatives is calling Governor Kim Reynolds’ decision to decline some federal unemployment assistance a publicity stunt designed to hurt Iowans for her personal gain.
“In search of national headlines, Governor Reynolds has thrown common sense out the window and again failed the leadership test,” State Representative Todd Prichard – a Charles City Democrat and Democratic House Leader – in a statement released on Tuesday, “her decision to end additional assistance to Iowans who lost their job during the pandemic is unconscionable and heartless.”
Governor Reynolds on Tuesday announced that the State of Iowa will stop accepting and disbursing increased federal unemployment benefits that provide up to an additional $300 per week to recipients. The governor argued that the benefits discourage Iowans from seeking employment. Iowa’s unemployment rate currently sits at 3.7%, higher than our pre-pandemic levels. “Now that our businesses and schools have reopened, these payments are discouraging people from returning to work,” the governor said in a news release announcing her plans, “Our unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent, vaccines are available to anyone who wants one, and we have more jobs available than unemployed people.”
Prichard says the governor’s actions were self-serving at the expense of Iowans in need. “It has real consequences for Iowa families who are behind on rent, trying to put food on the table, pay for child care, and get their lives back to normal. Her action today will slow Iowa’s economic recovery for not only unemployed Iowans, but all Iowans,” Prichard says, “Governor Reynolds needs to advocate for Iowans instead of using vulnerable Iowans as a stepping stone for her own political gain.”